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Leading the Leagues in Assists

The concierge service arm of CPAI evolved from a small staffing agency specializing in celebrity and entertainer clients to a full-service, 24-hour company catering to every lifestyle need. The firm's big break was signing on with the NFLPA.

Muhammad won't say how much the firm charges, but industry fees range from $500 to $2,500 a month. Tarrer charges about $3,000, said Terence Tarrer, the firm's owner. CPAI mans a round-the-clock Atlanta telephone center for members and keeps a database with clients' preferences, ranging from which side of an airplane they prefer to sit on to whether they drink only soy milk. Tarrer, who has a finance degree from New York University and a master's in sports management from Virginia Commonwealth, said his team can work all night as well.

NBA star Carmelo Anthony is among a growing number of athletes who have turned to Terence Tarrer, among others, to manage their lives. (Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)

An article and a caption in some Aug. 4 editions misspelled the name of Terence Tarrer, owner of Tarrer Management, a concierge firm that serves professional athletes.

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Tarrer created the company six months ago, saying he is turning his life in a new direction. In 1993, he was convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession and felony possession of cocaine, and in 1994 he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor petty larceny. He also pleaded guilty in 2002 to second-degree assault in a domestic dispute. He was fined $1,000 for the assault charge and put on one-year probation.

Tarrer now counts Rodney White, who is an NBA free agent, Jones and Dallas Cowboys cornerback Peter Hunter among his clients.

"Those other things I'm putting behind me," Tarrer said. "It's a little embarrassing, but I have no involvement in any of those things any more."

Concierge services are not government regulated or licensed, so clients use these services at their own risk. Muhammad said her firm carries a multimillion-dollar liability insurance policy to protect clients and the company from fraudulent transactions.

Theo Ratliff of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers phoned CPAI last month when he needed six airplane tickets for a quick vacation to Jamaica. When Ratliff wanted to promote an energy drink he owns, CPAI set up 50 radio interviews. And every Mother's Day, CPAI sees to it that Ratliff's mother, Camillia, who lives in Alabama, gets a bouquet of her favorite flowers.

"It's just personal stuff that you want to try to get done without the headache to deal with," Ratliff said.

Managing those details sometimes resembles a scavenger hunt. Consider a recent benefit in Richmond, attended by several Tarrer clients: A birthday cake for Jones's fiancee? No problem. Chocolate or yellow? Rodney White can't get his hotel to cook a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich, so can someone please get him one? Brown finds a diner a couple of blocks away.

On a recent morning in his Richmond office, Tarrer was on the phone trying to locate a BMW 6 Series sedan equipped with a standard transmission for White's mother, Rhonda. Through the network of dealers that he uses to buy cars, Tarrer thinks he has a handle on a vehicle at an auction house in Pennsylvania.

"They make my life a lot easier," said White, a client who recently asked Tarrer to find him a $200,000 Aston Martin. "I can call him at 1:30 in the morning and tell him my credit card isn't working. It's 24/7."

A lot of the burden falls on people such as Brown, 27, who has an associate's degree in business from Prince George's Community College. Brown is all business, learning the art of a personal assistant from several years working directly for White, prior to joining Tarrer.

Whether it's driving Hunter to get a haircut during a recent trip to Washington or staying up until 3 a.m. painting the basement walls of Jones's sprawling Dearborn home, Brown takes pride in her work. Last month she was outfitting White's Bethesda apartment with linens, lamps, dishes and a television. She also found him a housekeeper. Then she headed for Whole Foods and Shoppers Food Warehouse, where she loaded up on everything from fresh carrot juice, plums and nectarines to Cap'n Crunch and Raisin Bran cereals to SoBe soda and feta cheese -- all for White. She knew what brand of toothpaste White uses (Crest, with baking soda). She filled his Range Rover with gas, and spent three hours searching for a "Fahrenheit 9/11" bootleg DVD. Before she left, Brown put away the groceries and made dinner.

"It beats sitting all day in the office, clocking in and out," she said.

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

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