By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
Six years later, Gordon recalls the situation as a matter of misplaced trust: "We finally start to ask and re-ask questions of Brian about where the money was going, and we weren't getting anything back but B.S. And more B.S."
A vicious written exchange between Gordon and Weymouth ensued.
A lawyer for the Cooper/Gordon side summarized their issues with Weymouth in court documents filed last year:
"Weymouth utilized Coopers'town funds to pay personal credit card charges; he stole cash from the safe and used it for personal purposes; paid for personal events such as an anniversary party at his home with Coopers'town funds; used Coopers'town's funds to assist his children in writing college letters and to pay for their baseball instructions."
Weymouth denied (and continues to deny) any wrongdoing and, in turn, accused Gordon and Cooper of all manner of financial malfeasance of their own.
He resigned as the managing partner of Coopers'town in January 2006.
Soon, he went to work on a potential new project, one that first depended on selling himself to one of the most famous names in boxing history and an enduring hero to millions of Latinos.
Julio Cesar Chavez was in a bad way when he connected with Weymouth in 2006.
As late former heavyweight champ Sonny Liston is noted to have said: "A boxer's career usually ends with a blues song and not with a national anthem."
Chavez's brilliant run ended ingloriously at age 43 at America West Arena (now US Airways Center) in September 2005, when he quit after four rounds in a meaningless fight against journeyman Grover Wiley.
It was a bitter end to a brilliant career that included 89 wins in a row en route to six world titles in three weight divisions.
Chavez was one of the world's most popular fighters, earning millions of dollars in winnings and endorsements.
But cocaine and alcohol took their toll on Chavez, who comes from a prizefighting world, to quote writer Jack Newfield, "where the lions are scared of the rats."
Ill-fated investments with shady characters left him in tenuous financial shape, and his unreliability had cost him endorsement and appearance fees.
Chavez also faced massive IRS problems, and by August 2009, he owed — and apparently still owes — the U.S. government $21.2 million in unpaid back taxes.
Still, Brian Weymouth knew how Chavez remained beloved among fight fans, even after his boxing career faded.
He got to Chavez through Ahmed Santos, the former boxer who lived in Phoenix after quitting the ring in 2001.
"Brian would go down to Mexico and visit with Julio and me," Santos recalls, "and he wouldn't stop coming, even if Julio wasn't himself. He finally won him over."
Weymouth says he spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to bring Chavez into the fold before the champ signed a binding agreement with him around 2007. His task was to find endorsement deals and other ways to use Chavez's moneymaking name.
In return, he and Chavez — and, to a lesser extent, Santos — would reap the rewards.
Weymouth says he worked several successful deals on Chavez's behalf before their relationship collapsed in early 2010.
"I reinvented his brand [and] put hundreds of thousands of dollars in his pockets," Weymouth tells New Times, "and he is still living off all the brands I created and which everyone is fighting for . . . [But] I believe he is loyal to whoever, wherever, the dollars are flowing from."
Chavez's response: "I would have liked to see all of that money I had coming to me from all these deals. But I didn't, and Weymouth knows it."
One of the deals was with longtime El Cajon, California, car dealer Shawn Sagart, who agreed in 2008 to pay Weymouth's company $8,500 a month for the use of Chavez's name.
Sagart changed the name of his dealership to the Julio Cesar Chavez Auto Group, and he tells New Times that he paid tens of thousands of dollars to Weymouth over an 18-month period. The bulk of that sum was supposed to go to Chavez, Sagart says, but Chavez's attorney, Zirael Colin, says it didn't.
"Julio asked me personally at one point what was up with his money, that he wasn't getting shit," Sagart says. "After I kept getting the runaround from Weymouth — he's the best at that — I cut off paying [Weymouth] because I honestly wanted to make sure that Julio would get what was owed him. Weymouth should be in jail for how he operates and then tries to talk his way out of it."
Brian O'Connor says he first met Brian Weymouth at a Scottsdale health club, probably in 2006.
Weymouth talked himself up, noting that he was looking for an investor for a new concept of his, which later became the Julio Cesar Chavez Campeones Restaurant.
Around that time, O'Connor became acquainted with Dan Wergin, an eclectic businessman from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Wergin has worked in commercial real estate, was the founder of a successful wind-turbine company, and owns his native state's second-largest cherry-producing farm.
Wergin and his wife spend winters in Arizona, and he was looking for an investment opportunity somewhere in the Valley.