NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has settled his lawsuit against a former Saints player who sold him nonexistent state movie tax credits from a defunct film studio.
Payton's attorney, Daniel Becnel Jr., described the settlement approved Thursday as "substantial."
"We were ready to go to trial," Becnel said. "We weren't out there with a tin cup in our hand. We got exactly what we wanted and demanded and they paid it."
He refused to give further details, saying the settlement amount was confidential.
The case is tied to the 2008 payment of $1.9 million by present and past members of the team to Louisiana Film Studios LLC. But the studio's chief, Wayne Read, never applied for the credits and never gave the money back. Records show Payton paid Read $144,000.
Former Saints long snapper Kevin Houser, who is in the securities business, has been blamed for the sour deals.
Thomas Roberts, Houser's attorney, said the settlement ends the lawsuit in regards to Payton and his wife, Elizabeth, but notes other plaintiffs remain.
"We're always talking about settlements but I can't say one way or the other whether we'll reach one with regards to the remaining parties," he said.
If no settlement is reached, the case is set for trial on June 24.
Read has pleaded guilty to federal charges of interstate transportation of stolen funds and wire fraud and was sentenced to four years in prison.
A victims list presented in court listed 27 current and former players and coaches, and administrative personnel as credit buyers. Former defensive end Charles Grant gave Read the most money: $425,000, quarterback Drew Brees invested $100,000 and $80,000 by former Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey and former Saints quarterback Archie Manning. Houser bought $125,000 in credits.
The buyers thought that by purchasing the tax credits they would be getting a yield $1.33 of value for every dollar invested by reducing their overall state income tax bill, attorneys have said. A credit is taken directly off net taxes due.
Read is the only person to have faced criminal charges.