The Redskins and former corner-back Mike Bass, a starter on the 1972 Super Bowl team, have reached an out-of-court settlement over back salary Bass claimed was due him after a career-ending neck injury in 1975, it was learned yesterday.
Paperwork completing the settlement remains to be filed in D.C. Superior Court, where the suit was filed in December 1976. Bass reportedly will receive in excess of $60,000, although lawyers for each side refused to divulge settlement figures yesterday.
Since the injury, Bass' financial problems have mounted. Several of his ventures, including MTB Enterprises and a resort condominium in the Bahamas, went bankrupt as his cash flow and credit were cut off.
Richard Rosen, an attorney representing Bass in the condominium case, said yesterday that Bass is straightening out his finances and has formed a new company, Lark, Inc. He has repurchased the condominium and plans to make good on contracts with previous investors in the time-sharing plan, Rosen added.
The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Affairs filed a lawsuit in May seeking $97,500 in damages from Bass for allegedly deceiving area residents who invested in the Bahamas condominium. Lawyers representing Montgomery County in that case were not available for comment yesterday.
Bass, who started at right corner-back for the Redskins for seven seasons, retired during training camp prior to the 1976 season after aggravating his neck injury. He was advised by Dr. Stanford Lavine, the team physician, that he could suffer permanent disability if he continued to play pro football.
Bass was seeking his 1976 salary of $78,000, plus $6,000 in expenses, interest on his salary and attorney's fees from the Redskins. The total package he sought was believed to be worth about $100,000.
Bass personally is likely to receive none of the settlement.
What happens to the $60,000 will be determined by federal bankruptcy court Judge Glen Goldburn of Hyattsville. Bass' debts to his creditors total more than $60,000, Rosen said.
Still to be settled from Bass' injury case, which his lawyers said resulted in his loss of credit and eventual financial ruin, is a workman's compensation case. Jim Cole, the lawyer representing Bass in that case, was on vacation yesterday and unavailable for comment.
Bass also was unavailable for comment.
In refusing to pay Bass his 1976 salary, the Redskins claimed Bass was injured in preseason and that salary disputes of this sort were supposed to be arbitrated by NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, not the courts. Attorneys for the team also claimed that Bass could collect workman's compensation, but not salary.
"It's a fair settlement," said Ed Berkowitz, attorney for Bass. "We did fairly well."
"The settlement is satisfactory to the Redskins," said Larry Lucchino, the Redskins' attorney.
Bass bought the condominium in Freeport, Bahamas, in 1975, before his neck injury. At the time, he ran his business out of a building he owned in Silver Spring.
He declared bankruptcy in August, 1978.
The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Affairs lawsuit charges Bass with failure to provide lodgings at the Channel House, his condominium, and at other condominiums serviced by Resorts Condominiums International, a condo-sharing service to which Bass subscribed.
The suit asked for $47,500 in restitution and $50,000 in punitive damages.
Yesterday, Rosen said that Bass had received a loan from the Bank of Vienna in Virginia to repurchase the Bahamas condominium.
"He has agreed to recognize all people who had contracts and service them," Rosen said. "All the small people (who invested) will not be hurt."
Asked how Bass could get a bank loan at this point in time, Rosen said, "Through Richard Rosen and Mike Lieberman (Bass' other lawyer in the condo case)."