Brother's Keeper

Phoenix boxing great Michael Carbajal says his big brother and manager, Danny, stole every penny he had

Former Carbajal family attorney and financial advisor Ben Miranda, a state legislator representing District 16, told New Timesin 1997 that Michael had invested his millions wisely and that his family's financial stability would be stable for decades ("A Long Day's Journey," April 10, 1997). Miranda did not return a call to his law office seeking comment for this story.

But now, a decade later, everything's gone, including his once-flush bank and retirement accounts, says Alan Susman, Michael's attorney.

"My client's assets, which were millions of dollars at one time, have been raided and stolen by [Danny] Carbajal and the daughters," he says. "That's why we're suing them."

Michael Carbajal became a boxing superstar in the  years after the 1988 Olympic Games.
Michael Carbajal became a boxing superstar in the years after the 1988 Olympic Games.
Danny Carbajal, circa 1997, inside the old family gym, at 910 East Fillmore Street.
Timothy Archibald
Danny Carbajal, circa 1997, inside the old family gym, at 910 East Fillmore Street.

If it weren't for the continued financial and emotional support of Michael's girlfriend, Laura Hall, it would be impossible to say where the champ would be living or how he would support himself, Susman says.

Another person who has stepped up for Michael is Ruben Castillo, a former world-class boxer from Bakersfield, California, and longtime friend of the Carbajals.

"Michael's my little brother, man," he says, practically shouting into the telephone. "If you haven't been in the ring as a fighter, there's no way to explain what someone has to go through to become a true champion like he did. He's the one who took all of those punches, felt all that pain, and he did it for his family and for Danny, not just for himself. What Danny has done is one of the worst things I've ever come across in boxing, and that's saying a hell of a lot."

Continuing on about Danny, Castillo says, "There [Danny] was in Michael's corner, rubbing Vaseline on his face to protect him from getting hurt. Meanwhile, that bastard's other hand was in Michael's pocket, ripping him off like some street punk. And from what I hear, he stole all of his mom's money, too."

Castillo is referring to Mary Carbajal, a widow in her mid-70s and the mother of nine. Records analyzed by New Times indicate that Mary also has lost the bulk (if not all) of more than $1 million formerly held for her in a Merrill Lynch retirement fund.

Michael has told his attorney and others that he'd asked Danny to ensure their parents' financial futures soon after he started making serious money in the ring.

But the records show that Danny, the only person other than Mary allowed to withdraw funds from her retirement account, drained more than $1 million from it over an as-yet-unspecified period of time. Records also indicate that most of the withdrawal checks were mailed to Danny's vacant ex-residence at 914 East Fillmore, while others went to his current residence, a condo on East Osborn Road.

What Danny has done with much of the money he allegedly stole from his mother and his brother is uncertain.

By all accounts, he seems to live modestly in the Osborn condo that he and Sally purchased in 1997 for $44,000 and that now is worth about $145,000.

Publicly, Danny has been claiming for years that he's pretty much tapped out financially, an unemployed, boxing trainer who works gratis with amateur fighters. He testified in his 2004 deposition that his mother occasionally has helped him cover what he described as minimal living expenses.

During his examination, Danny said straight-faced that his long-retired mother had saved the money in her retirement accounts during a career as a nutritionist, earning about $72,000 a year, and that neither he nor Michael had funded the accounts.

For the record, Mary Carbajal is a Mexican-food cook of great repute, but to anyone's knowledge, never was a nutritionist. She occasionally worked at menial jobs until Michael turned pro and may not have earned $70,000 in her whole life.

To add insult to injury, the IRS informed Mary last month that she owes $35,391 in unpaid 2003 federal taxes. The taxes stem from the withdrawals by Danny of vast sums of money from one of her retirement accounts.

It wasn't the first time that Danny failed to pay taxes on money he had withdrawn from her account. In 2004, someone — probably Danny — satisfied an IRS bill against Mary totaling about $26,000 in unpaid taxes on funds withdrawn from her account back in 1999.

Another troubling transaction concerns the true ownership of the Carbajal's original family home at 910 East Fillmore Street. On a quit-claim deed dated November 3, 1995, someone signed Mary's name to transfer ownership of the residence to Danny. In the document, it was requested that the County Recorder's Office send paperwork involving the transaction to Danny at his East Osborn address.

But the notary public whose official seal appears at the bottom of the deed never signed it, which would have indicated that she'd personally seen Mary Carbajal sign her name. Also, the quit-claim deed from mother to oldest son wasn't filed with the County Recorder's Office until March 2003, or eight years after Mary allegedly had signed it, which raises other suspicions.

Michael's girlfriend, Laura Hall, says Mary recently told her she'd never signed that quit-claim, and that she and her late husband always had intended that 910 East Fillmore go to Michael, who has lived there for most of his life.

On July 20, Mary actually did sign another quit-claim deed, with the intent of trying to get the property into Michael's name. Her alleged 1995 signature and the recent one look nothing alike.

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14 comments
Arturocarrasco75
Arturocarrasco75

mikael..keep your head up brother. Its a real shame your own blood did this to you.like i told you in your face...you have always been my idol, long before we met. and im proud of you and lucky to have shaken your hand that made you a true champion. arturo carrasco sr.

maria Sanchez
maria Sanchez

how much sympathy can anyone really have for Michael. He is not a victim in this case. Do you think Danny didn't get paid for training? Come on people, your not that dumb. Danny has to have his own money and so did Michael. this shows how blinded fans can get when someone they admire makes bad decisions. Michael tries to use the sympathy of his fans, which are limited now. If you look at Michael's history with police and his violent , loud behavior you will see that he is not the innocent man that never spend any money he claims to be. It's sad he is using his fans admiration to go against his brother. Those two were so close that I believe Michael knew where all of his money was going. You can't fool this ex-fan.

9st vp
9st vp

Hey Maria Sanchez you got a big mouth and if you knew the truth you wouldnt be commenting like that..... danny have you believing he is not guilty.... Michael is my uncle and i know the truth i see and witness so do your research before opening your FAT mouth.... you were never a fan because a true fan would stick by his side... i am telling you this so you're not having Michael as the "bad guy"..........

Diamondjohnson317
Diamondjohnson317

Hey DUMB IDIOT, you are as stupid as your uncle. I heard all about his faggot ass. He was picking up a hooker on Van Buren by your hood and found out it was a man. He liked the man but the pimp beat up your uncle cause he did'nt want to pay. Hell nah, that's low and I think Maris has a point and sounds a lot more smarter than you. You need to research about you uncle on Vanburen. Sounds like he is a bad guy...sorry.

Trickedoutscion06
Trickedoutscion06

hey 9st vp would u be able to email me if possiable trickedoutscion06@yahoo.com

Lori
Lori

Wow, what a sad sad story...too many times things like this happen in families and it just shows that blood is not thicker than water...to stab your own brother in the back...how does he look at himself everyday..very sad for Michael...I hope he find happiness, God Bless.

Ed
Ed

I've met Michael several times at Mecca Lounge (now razed). when he got drunk, he became abusive. i guess that was why he always had friends who drank with him(he bought). If you're stupid enough to be taken, then you get taken. Danny saw an easy score and took it. you can meet Danny now at that bar on 16th street drinking Michelobs with Mike's money.

Davey Altamirano Jr.
Davey Altamirano Jr.

Danny and Michael were the men who taught me how to really throw a punch. They trained me for some time in the jr. middleweight division at the 9th st. gym. It was the best experience of my life and im truly saddened by this whole incident cause i talked to them about fighting all the time cause i always looked up to them. I feel sorry for michael and what he is going through, i pray for him and the family. god bless, AKA Little Big Head.

Ralph R
Ralph R

Everyone in boxing is talking about this story. Please follow it up

Micho
Micho

I knew some of the Carbajal's and I remember when Angel would get of the Bus and walk down the street and he would buy Ice Cream for us. But to hear all of this is sad, especially for Michael and Mary. I looked at quit claim deed and Mary is spelled with two rr's and I think she would know how to spell her own name. The more stuff that comes out about Danny the more I suspect he is guilty of these heinous things. One thing though, Michael should have always kept his financial adviser, when it comes to money, it will tear even brothers with a strong bond apart. Michael should get on the wagon rebound and focus on training the next crop of Arizona champs.

Luis Lopez
Luis Lopez

Danny and his daughters ought to be ashamed of themselves. This boy needs to go away for a long, long time....Unbelivable

Roland Parks
Roland Parks

I was a big big fan of Michael's and remember all of your great stories on him and his family from way back when. I also read your story a few years ago about the murder and couldn't believe it. This is just so sad. I can see how Michael got taken for a ride because if you can't trust your brother, who can you trust? I hope he survives all this.

MaryK Croft
MaryK Croft

My family was there in the late '80's and our band, Side Effects, did some fund-raisers for Michael in 1987. We thought they were a class act, the whole Carbajal family. How sad this whole thing is! What I most hope for is that Sally gets vindicated. Michael will simply continue to live and may or may not get over it, but Sally, a domestic violence victim, doesn't even have that much.

David Lopez
David Lopez

This is a fucking amazing story. Wowwwwwwwwww....Son of a bitch

 
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