After cheerfully representing himself in the bankruptcy case he filed last year, ex-Phillies and Mets star Lenny Dykstra told me today he has hired Encinitas, Calif. lawyer Michael J. Pines to face bankruptcy trustee Arturo Cisneros and a long list of creditors, who have lately stepped up efforts to try to collect some of the millions they say Dykstra owes them through the Chapter 7 liquidation of his remaining property.
This follows Cisneros' long, pleasantly illustrated complaint (read it here), which accuses Dykstra of making a complete monkey out of him, Dykstra's mortgage lender JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Dykstra's other creditors. According to Cisneros:
Last fall and winter, Dykstra blew off three scheduled meetings with the people he owes money, "finally" showing up in April without "adequate" explanation of what he'd done with records for his $18.5 million mansion (formerly hockey star Wayne Gretzky's) in Thousand Oaks, Calif., along with its lamps, furniture and other furnishings.
Meanwhile, Dykstra rented an office in Camarillo, Calif., where he stored "office furniture, antique desks, (a) wine refrigerator, sports memorabilia, and a four-foot-tall electronically-locked safe" from the house.
On Feb. 6, Dykstra visited his property. Cisneros says his lawyer reached Dykstra by phone and told him not to take anything, adding that it could "constitute criminal conduct" if he did. Dykstra jokingly answered "that there was a lot of money in the safe but (he) had forgotten the combination."
Cisneros says Dykstra then "gave his word" not to take anything. Next, "within minutes of giving Plaintiff's counsel he word that he would not remove" the stuff, Dykstra "proceeded to load up a moving van to remove the entire contents."
And then Dykstra went and advertised some of the stuff for sale on eBay: a framed picture for $3,200, a mahogany desk for $10,000, among other things.
Dykstra's lawyer told me he's working on a response.