Brother's Keeper

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

According to the zillow.com real estate Web site, the 1,500-square-foot home at 910 East Fillmore currently is worth about $200,000.


Danny Carbajal is already in boiling-hot water, and that doesn't even count being the chief suspect in a double murder.

Michael Carbajal claims that he is broke.
Timothy Archibald
Michael Carbajal claims that he is broke.
Michael Carbajal was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.
Michael Carbajal was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.

He is scheduled to be sentenced November 30 for defrauding and stealing from Sally Carbajal. His two daughters, Josephine and Celia, also pleaded guilty to lower-level felonies in the scam and already have been placed on probation.

Danny is facing a prison term of up to 37 years but also is eligible for probation, which is what his attorney is requesting. He remains free on $18,000 cash bond posted shortly after Phoenix police arrested him and his daughters on August 24, 2005.

In a pre-sentencing memorandum filed with county Judge Andrew Klein on September 12, Danny's criminal attorney, Sherry Bell (a partner of Henry Florence, the beneficiary of the allegedly forged $30,000 check) wrote of "an unusual amount of community support" for her client.

Among those supporters are county Board of Supervisors member Mary Rose Wilcox and her husband, Earl, both of whom are longtime friends of the Carbajal clan.

Earl Wilcox, who is a special assistant for community outreach to Governor Janet Napolitano, says he told Danny he couldn't write a letter of support because of his current position but that his wife did write one under her name.

"Mary Rose didn't hesitate because she doesn't want to see him go to jail," Wilcox says. "We've known these people forever, and they're family to us. We don't know the ins and outs of their personal stuff, but I know that my wife has always loved Michael. This is just sad stuff."

How many of Danny's supporters know of Michael's current financial plight and the primary reason for it — the greed of Danny and his daughters — is unknown. But Michael's new lawsuit will have the effect of putting Danny's allies in an unenviable spot, if only because the champ remains beloved by many, especially in the Latino community.

"If all of this is true, a lot of people like myself are going to have egg on their faces," says Wes Melton, a longtime player in the Valley boxing community who is now serving as a referee at prizefights. "I wrote because of the relationship that I did have with Danny in the boxing community and what he has done for kids. That's what I based my letter on. I knew there was a lot of skullduggery going on, a lot of problems, but as a friend, I tried to stay out of that. It's just so hard to believe that this has happened because I know how close these brothers [were]. It's not as if Danny is a drug addict or anything, so why would he have done this?"

Melton's sentiments are echoed by Rudy Buchanan, a longtime community activist now working with youth on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

"Listen," Buchanan says. "This news is very troubling to me and very sad. I don't know anything about what was and is going on inside that family. I was just asked to say a few words of support for a guy I've known for a long time, so I did."

In her court memorandum, Sherry Bell also wrote that Danny "is a loving father, a supportive son and brother, and a generous member of the community."

She wrote of "an adoring husband who married his childhood sweetheart and cherished her every day whether she was sober or drunk" but finally had to leave the marriage because Sally's alcoholism became too much for him to bear.

The defense attorney conceded that Danny had forged Sally's name to the quit-claim deeds, but only after Sally allegedly stole $400,000 from himin the late 1990s.

"When Danny finally decided to divorce, he naively thought he could [get back] the lost money by forging her name to quit-claim deeds," Bell wrote to Judge Klein.

"Danny did not act with malice; he acted stupidly without thought for the law . . . He is aware that he acted without thought and would do anything to change his actions. Danny has a somewhat menacing face, but he is a sweet man who loves his family and friends and regrets any hardship he has caused."

Bell ignores the fact that her client avowed in his 2004 deposition that it was Michael's money, not Danny's, that had funded the downtown Phoenix properties, whose value continues to grow by the year.

Danny testified then that "there's properties in my name that don't belong to me, [but] that were in mine and Sally's name," and claimed that Michael had given Sally the money "to purchase the properties. I don't know what transactions she did to get the money. She was always telling me . . . How we could do this? [She would say] 'In order to protect Michael, we'll put everything in our name. And when it comes time, we'll just turn it over to him.'"

Sally's attorney asked Danny, "You thought that was perfectly legitimate to just put money of somebody else's into a property . . . to sort of hide it from potential creditors?"

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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.

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

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

 
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