The neon “Open” sign that blazed at party time has come down from the second-floor balcony.
Newport Beach’s most boisterous celebrity resident, the one with the multiple body piercing, multiple tattoos and multiple hair colors, is leaving town.
Dennis Rodman -- who bought his pinkish-brown, two-story Seashore Drive home in 1996 for $825,000 -- put it on the market for $3.8 million and sold it for cash to an Arizona developer in two days, said Christopher Parr, his real estate agent.
The sale comes as Rodman, 43, is being sued for divorce by his third wife, Michelle, the mother of two of his children. The divorce case provides a view into the former NBA star’s finances, which his attorney says in court papers “have deteriorated significantly.”
Divorce drama aside, neighbors near Rodman’s beachfront home are divided over his departure. Some say they’ll relish the expected peace and quiet, while others say they’ll miss the distinctive flair of his neighborliness.
Robert Marsh, 44, remembers preparing for a party and hanging tiki torches when Rodman, who didn’t know him, stopped his Suburban, pulled out a case of beer, threw it into his yard and said, “Have a cool party, bro.”
“I’m kind of going to miss him,” Marsh said.
Rodman probably will not remain in Orange County, said Darren Prince, the athlete’s agent, and is looking at Los Angeles and elsewhere in California, along with Dallas, where he grew up.
Rodman declined to comment.
Rodman’s Newport Beach neighborhood mixes expensive single-family homes with summer-rental duplexes. Rodman’s five-bedroom, 2 3/4-bathroom house has no frontyard. His patio, not much bigger than a couple of basketball backboards, opens onto the beach.
Parked in front of his garage this week was a white Mercedes S600, adorned on the hood and sides with purple flames and on the trunk with the moniker “Wormcedes,” for his NBA nickname “The Worm.” A parking ticket was tucked beneath a wiper blade.
This is nothing the neighborhood hasn’t grown to expect. Rodman, after all, also has driven a Humvee painted with naked women and a F350 Ford pickup with a portrait of Rodman on the hood and an image of his tongue turning into flames as it stretched down the sides.
Neighbors are still talking about the time he made his entrance at his 40th birthday party by landing on the beach in a helicopter. Rodman later was charged with violating noise ordinances and paid the city $1,500.
And, of course, there were the many noisy parties that started at 2 a.m. and fights among men -- and women -- that spilled onto the street. Police say they were called to his home 80 times during his eight years there.
Only some of his antics took place at the house. There was the time authorities towed his 47-foot speedboat, Sexual Chocolate, after it was parked at another person’s dock, and his arrest on suspicion of public drunkenness after being spotted driving the boat erratically.
Recently, however, things have calmed down at Rodman’s house, neighbors said. This has coincided with his decision to stop drinking, Prince said. Rodman sees an alcohol counselor, the agent said, and uses Antabuse, a drug that causes nausea if he drinks.
“He’s definitely cleaned up his act,” said Jan Grumman, who lives down the street.
All the same, Jim Jacobs, who lives with his two teenage sons and a daughter across the street from the house Rodman sold, said he was not sorry to see him leave.
“We’re tickled to death,” he said. “If people say they’re not happy to see him go, there’s something wrong with them.”
It’s unclear if the sale of the house is connected to the divorce.
Michelle Rodman received a temporary restraining order in April that prevents her husband from coming within 100 yards of her. She said in court documents that in January 2003 Rodman punched her and that police were called 2 1/2 years earlier because he had threatened her.
Her husband “has a history of domestic violence, not only with me, but with many other women he has had relationships with,” Michelle Rodman said in a court filing. "[His] hostile temper and aggressive behavior coupled with his drunkenness and large stature make me apprehensive he may cause me bodily injury any time he does not get his way.”
Gerald Phillips, Rodman’s attorney, disputed Michelle’s claims and said that in one instance she was drunk and broke down the door to Rodman’s bedroom.
According to divorce documents, Rodman’s income last year was $570,000. He reported he will receive an additional $26,000 a month for the next three years from the sale of a company, apparently an excavation firm in Dallas.
Rodman said he had $10,000 cash, $1.45 million in stocks and bonds, and $3.4 million worth of property.
Rodman listed his monthly expenses at $36,663 on one document and $31,423 on another. Expenses include $5,000 a month in attorney fees, $15,000 a month to support children from another relationship and an $8,200 mortgage payment.
Rodman’s wife said monthly expenses for her and their children were $17,000 a month. The 36-year-old describes their lifestyle as “luxurious,” with meals at expensive restaurants, vacations “where no expense was spared,” a personal trainer five days a week at $100 an hour, and $550 a month for hair, nails, tanning and Botox.
For her birthday, Rodman bought her a Mercedes 500SL. He bought Rolex watches for her and her daughter.
Lisa Hughes, Michelle Rodman’s attorney, said her client persuaded Rodman to quit drinking and carousing. “She would not have children in that environment,” Hughes said.
When the couple met in January 2000, Michelle was working as a doctor’s receptionist. He already had been married twice, most recently to actress Carmen Electra, a union that lasted less time than an NBA season.
By the time he and Michelle married in May 2003, they had two children and hadn’t lived together in 21 months. Rodman was paying $2,400 a month for Michelle to rent a house in Costa Mesa and paid for a live-in nanny.
Hughes said Rodman sends Michelle flowers and recently gave her a diamond-encrusted dog tag in an effort to win her back.
Prince, Rodman’s agent, said his client would sign with an NBA team July 15, shortly after teams can sign free agents. Rodman, though, doesn’t sound as optimistic. “I cannot get an NBA contract at my age,” he said in a court declaration.
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As the Worm turns
Notable events during Dennis Rodman’s eight-year residence in Newport Beach:
1996 August: The five-time NBA champion buys a 3,500-square-foot oceanfront duplex in Newport Beach. 1999 February: Rodman signs a two-year contract with the Lakers; he plays seven weeks before being released. December: Rodman is arrested for suspected drunk driving in Costa Mesa. 2000 March: He is released by the Dallas Mavericks after playing 12 games. July: Rodman is fined $2,050 in a December drunk-driving case and ordered to serve three years’ probation. 2001 May: Rodman arrives by helicopter at his 40th birthday party, which is attended by 300 guests. Police file four counts against him for various violations. * Newport Beach seeks music ban at Josh Slocum’s, a restaurant co-owned by Rodman. June: Rodman is charged with misdemeanors for disturbing the peace and violating city codes during his birthday bash. * The City Council approves noise restriction ordinance. August: Rodman is cited for speeding in his boat. * Rodman reportedly sprays a fire extinguisher at guests inside a Newport Beach Hooters Restaurant. October: Rodman agrees to pay $1,050 for misdemeanor noise violations during his 2001 birthday party as well as boat-related speeding ticket. 2003 May: Rodman celebrates 42nd birthday by marrying Michelle Moyer in a civil ceremony. August: His boat is seized for being illegally parked at a private dock. September: Rodman is briefly jailed on a drunkenness report, after witnesses say his boat was being driven erratically off Newport Beach. December: The ex-NBA star debuts with the Long Beach Jam. 2004 June: In the midst of his third divorce, Rodman sells his house and will probably move from the county, according to his agent.
Source: Times reports