Donation to clear up Rodman dispute is surprise to store owner
The co-owner of a Glenwood Springs gas station says he would be happy to identify a worthy charity for $1,000 that supposedly is being sent to clear up a misunderstanding with Dennis Rodman.
But he has yet to hear from the retired basketball star’s people about the promised charitable donation.
“I’m assuming that’s really going to happen,” said Scott Paulson, a partner at the Tomahawk Auto Truck Plaza in west Glenwood Springs.
Rodman reportedly paid only $20 for a gasoline bill of more than $40 and walked away with a cowboy hat without paying for it July 26 at the station. He was participating in a charity automobile rally, and also was ticketed for speeding twice elsewhere in western Colorado while driving through the state in a Lamborghini.
Local police decided not to pursue charges against Rodman on the alleged gas skip after a mystery female basketball fan entered the store last week and paid the remainder of what he owed for the gas. Police also decided no criminal action was warranted regarding the cowboy hat because it appears Rodman may have thought he was given the hat in exchange for signing his autograph for a clerk.
Darren Prince, Rodman’s agent, told a reporter Thursday that Rodman’s sponsor during the rally, GoldenPalace.com, has pledged to donate $1,000 to a Colorado children’s charity of the gas station’s choice because of the misunderstanding.
Paulson said the only thing he has heard about the donation has been from the media. It’s been that way ever since Rodman underpaid the station, he said.
“He’s never contacted us in any way about this. It’s all been through the press,” Paulson said.
Prince told The Associated Press that Rodman had offered to pay the gas station, but Prince never heard from the store or police.
“He thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion,” Prince said.
Paulson said if he receives the $1,000, he’s open-minded about where to direct it.
“I’m just getting caught a little flat-footed,” he said.
Paulson said his office is in Denver, so he’s not familiar with local charities. He said he might call Glenwood police chief Terry Wilson for ideas.
“I can guarantee we’ll pick out a good charity,” he said.
Neither Rodman nor his agent had heard that someone had paid the gas bill until an AP reporter contacted them after the Post Independent learned the anonymous woman had come forward.
“Dennis definitely feels it’s somebody he knows,” Prince, who was in China Thursday with Rodman for some exhibition basketball games, told the AP by phone. “Somebody that knows Dennis the person and knows he would never intentionally steal something like that.”
As for the hat, Paulson said he didn’t witness the incident, but his understanding from the clerk is that there was no promise made of a hat for an autograph.
“He said can I have this hat; she said no, can I have this autograph,” Paulson said.
Paulson called it a “frivolous moment” in which the clerk was “giggly with excitement” over meeting with Rodman. She didn’t insist that he give back the hat, but Paulson believes it was made clear to Rodman and those with him that it wasn’t a gift.
He said a woman with Rodman refused to pay the store what it was owed.
“She said, ‘I’m not paying for the hat; it’s not mine,'” Paulson said.
Paulson said he can’t know for sure, but can only speculate that given Rodman’s wealth and his notoriety as a “cavalier guy,” he’s used to being coddled and not being held accountable.
“At what point are you held responsible for your actions, or not?” Paulson said.
He said the store was never looking for anything but being paid what it was owed for the gas and hat.
“All we needed was 40-some dollars, and this could have gone away. He could sleep, I could sleep,” Paulson said.
Paulson has fielded a number of calls from the media over the incident. Given the interest from television stations, he said he wishes he had some footage of Rodman’s visit to offer them.
“If we had had our act together with the video (camera), think what we could have done,” he said.
Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516
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