Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller and Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles were among the current and former NFL players whose investment money was used to fund controversial high-interest loans targeting low-income people in Texas prior to an October bankruptcy case.
ESPN's Mike Fish reported Friday the players worked with financial investor Joseph "Joey" Feste, who created the Storehouse Lending LLC to fund the loans for partner company KJC Auto Title Loan, which court documents showed indirectly received at least $6 million from NFL players via Feste.
Other players linked to Feste's dealings were Mark Brunell, Derrick Brooks, Jamaal Charles, Matt Flynn, Shane Vereen, Marques Tuiasosopo, Justin Forsett, Sean Weatherspoon, Renaldo Wynn and Damian Williams.
While most players or their representatives declined comment for the ESPN story, Flynn told Fish that Feste did a "great job'' as his financial advisor, though he denied knowledge of how his money was used.
"Yeah, again, I don't really know enough about it," Flynn said. "When you're playing, you don't take a deep dive into everything where your money is at. But you understand everything from a pretty decent perspective."
Feste's attorney, Andrew Kim, described the information as old news and said his client was cleared of any criminal activity. Nobody linked to the loans, which are legal in Texas, has been charged with a crime.
"My client's reaction is that this is an old story about an old investment that has been vetted by several regulatory entities charged with the responsibility of doing so,'' Kim told Fish. "It was completely cleared of any problems. It was a totally legal business.''
Feste had his registration with the NFL Players Association revoked in May 2017 in part for not disclosing a civil lawsuit he'd filed for his LLC against KJC Auto.
Although that eliminated a direct link between himself and the NFLPA, it didn't prevent him from acting as a financial advisor for players through KM Capital Management, as he's continued to do for the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, Miami Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa and others, according to ESPN.
"Joey is one of the financial planners some of our guys use," NFL agent Leigh Steinberg, who represents Mahomes and Tagovailoa, said. "I don't know much about the specifics."
Financial documents show players and other clients of Feste typically received between a 9 and 20 percent return on their investment from money used to fund the KJC Auto loans. However, the loan borrowers, who lacked access to traditional banking resources, were charged large fees and interest up to 300 percent. One borrower cited by Fish was required to pay back over three times the amount of her loan of just over $1,000 as a result of fees and interest.
"It was, in my mind, criminal because the ones who were taking out the loans were generally poor people who could least afford to repay, and who were not necessarily financially savvy," KJC Auto bankruptcy trustee Marilyn Garner told Fish. "And the problem is, it is not illegal.''
Feste continues to serve as the president and chief compliance officer at KM Capital.