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Despite NC State efforts, Leak continues contact with Pack players

Posted November 4, 2013

— Eric Leak’s 31-yard touchdown catch in 1998 to help the North Carolina State University football team defeat a heavily favored Florida State team is what many Wolfpack fans remember about the former wide receiver. Now, the university does not permit Leak to even set foot on campus.

In late October, Leak was given a “no trespass” letter after his wife, Emily, had her car ticketed twice outside the football facility. While it is not clear who was driving the car, it is not the first time Leak has appeared on the NC State compliance department’s radar.

In 2011, NC State sent a disassociation letter to Leak for violating NCAA rules by loaning a car to then-NC State basketball player CJ Leslie. He also admitted at the time that he provided $1,349 worth of benefits to Wolfpack basketball player Tracy Smith.

The disassociation letter banned Leak and his wife from communicating with NC State athletes or anyone else in the department for 10 years, but it carries little enforcement power.

“Mainly what they're doing is covering their fanny,” said Steve Logan, former East Carolina head coach. “That's all NC State is doing: No. 1 what they have to do, what they should do from their point of view.”

While Leak said he is honoring the spirit of the disassociation letter, a three-month WRAL News investigation found he had plenty of continued contact with NC State athletes.

Leak declined an on-camera interview, but in a lengthy conversation with WRAL Investigates, he said he had contact with NC State cornerback David Amerson in 2012.

Barred booster shared townhouse, cars with former Pack players Browder: Barred booster shared townhouse, cars with former Pack players

The contact, which NC State also confirmed, was not ruled an NCAA violation, but was a violation of the terms of Leak’s disassociation from the program.

“Eric Leak was notified by NC State that he is not to have contact with our current and future student-athletes in all sports for any purpose during the period of disassociation,” NC State officials said in a statement in September 2012. “This ban extends to all forms of in-person contact and all known or future methods of communication. It appears that Eric Leak is in violation of this letter."

“Is it realistic to think a university can keep away overzealous boosters? Not really,” said long-time ACC beat writer and WRALSportsFan columnist Caulton Tudor. “I mean, that's been going on since the 1920s.”

In a recent statement, NC State said it is doing all it can.

“Through the disassociation, the referral to the Secretary of State and the trespass letter, NC State has actively distanced NC State Athletics and student athletes from Eric and Emily Leak,” the statement read.

Leak said he was friends with Amerson and Leslie before the ban. After the disassociation, he claims he provided no improper benefits, but didn't write them off either.

“You can't just stop a relationship," Leak said.

Neighbors of a property in Raleigh owned by Emily Carter, Leak’s wife, said they often saw Leslie coming and going – both during and after his playing days at NC State. They complained of loud parties at the townhome possibly involving NC State athletes.

When confronted with the information of Leslie sightings on his property, Leak only concedes that it is possible, but not while he was there.

Leak said Leslie had the garage code to get in.

A collection of cars

According to an October 2013 tax record in Wake County, Leslie, who was cut by the New York Knicks of the NBA just last week, co-owns a newly purchased Land Rover with Leak.

Tax records show the Leaks own about $500,000 in cars, including a $131,000 Maserati, a Porsche and a Jaguar.

Leak also has car connections with Amerson. He admitted he loaned Amerson, who was still enrolled as a student at NC State at the time, a brand-new Porsche Cayenne.

Amerson was stopped for speeding in that same car on Jan. 3, just three days after the Wolfpack’s bowl game - and before any public report of Amerson declaring for the NFL Draft.

“You have to be careful with the choices you make, because you don't want to jeopardize your career,” now-Washington Redskins cornerback Amerson said before the start of the season.

Asked about Leak, Amerson described him as “a good guy and has good intentions. Definitely just an all-around good person.”

Guilford County tax records reveal Leak and Amerson now co-own a Land Rover and a Porsche - each purchased in June. Amerson, who signed a four-year, $3.85 million deal with the Redskins in May, has even posted a video online of himself with a Porsche.

Business beyond the field

Leak also has a business relationship with Leslie, Amerson and other former Wolfpack players through a sports management company called Hot Shot Sports.

Leak said he has eight players under contract, none of them from NC State. He said Hot Shot Sports is more of a hobby and love than a business.

Registered to his wife Emily, but run by Leak, Hot Shot Sports promoted autograph signings for charity earlier this year. There are also dedicated web pages that tag the individual players as “Hot Shot” athletes. WRAL found those same references on the website for Atlas Sports Agency, which represents Amerson.

Atlas owner J.T. Johnson, based in Gadsden, Ala., said Hot Shot provides some day-to-day services for players, like house hunting and bill paying.

Johnson told WRAL that Leak played no role in steering Amerson to the agency.

Leak said he serves as a mentor to Amerson and other pros, often dealing with teams, agents and day-to-day player needs. He argued that he has no business relationship with Amerson or Leslie. “I have not made a dime on them," he said.

Johnson's take is different. He said Amerson and others pay Leak for the services.

While the NCAA has ruled in the past that "once a student-athlete, always a student-athlete," when it comes to accepting gifts from boosters, proving a violation occurred is a tall order. Still, that doesn't take the pressure off.

“Most of the time, if it looks suspicious, there's a smell test,” Tudor said. “If it doesn't smell exactly right, it's enough to get the school worried. And in this case, NC State is worried.”

The money source

Leak and his wife run two mental health counseling businesses.

They are the listed owners of E Squared Community Services, which billed patients for $1.2 million in 2010 and saw a big drop the following year. At the same time, they were involved in Nature's Reflections. Billing there soared simultaneously with E Squared’s decline.

The second company climbed to at $7.2 million in net revenue in 2012 - the same year the Leaks became the sole owners.

This past summer, the Leaks received a letter from the state alleging they billed Medicaid for services not provided. The state conducted an audit on E-Squared and ordered them to repay $490,000.

They reached a deal with the state and agreed to repay more than $360,000.

A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson has informed WRAL that Nature's Reflections is currently under investigation.

159 Comments

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  • ezme22 Nov 4, 6:09 p.m.

    mooers never win

  • Ken D. Nov 4, 6:22 p.m.

    "Is it realistic to think a university can keep away overzealous boosters? Not really," said long-time ACC beat writer and WRALSportsFan columnist Caulton Tudor. "I mean, that's been going on since the 1920s."

    Tudor is only saying that because that's as far back as he can remember. It's actually been going on much longer. :)

    Anybody who thinks that Leslie and Amerson never accepted impermissable benefits while playing for State, but are convinced that Carolina, Miami, Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma State (among others) players did accept them, is just wearing rose colored glasses.

    Does that mean that State, or those other schools, "cheated" because they did? That puts the blame in the wrong place as far as I'm concerned.

  • andy2 Nov 4, 6:25 p.m.

    Another nothing story.... Move along nothing to see here.

  • Alex25 Nov 4, 6:29 p.m.

    WRAL, you will now be FORCED / COMPELLED to actually investigate PJ Hairston, Roy, Lawson, Strickland, Fats, McAdoo, and the dozens of others. You have set a precedent.

    www.unccheats.com

  • borealbob1952 Nov 4, 6:30 p.m.

    Unless you have a court order how do you prevent two consenting adults from communicating with each other. All smoke and mirrors.

  • heelzfan4 Nov 4, 6:35 p.m.

    WRAL, you will now be FORCED / COMPELLED to actually investigate PJ Hairston, Roy, Lawson,... View More

    — Posted by Alex25

    "Alex25" - it happens at all schools; just UNC and NCSU are the ones in the spotlight now.

    With that said, I wish I had a "mentor" like Leak said he was to kids.... co-owning expensive luxury vehicles, condos, etc. Sweet deal if you can get it.

  • FD Nov 4, 6:40 p.m.

    As a lifelong NCSU supported this is typical for any Div 1 NCAA atheletics program and any school will have a hard time handling this, the bigger problem and story here is that he appears to be ripping of the tax payers with bogus medicaid billing, If this is the case he should be in jail because he is just a criminal

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Nov 4, 6:41 p.m.

    Ok! So then why doesn't the university send a FORMAL notice to all of their team members that they will be permanently kicked off any team(s) they're on if they are found to have contact with this guy after the date of the notice?
    They may not be able to control this low life, but they should be able to control their own team members.

  • Jewelry-EricLeak Nov 4, 6:45 p.m.

    1. The Wolfpack Way, in the Cheating Spirit of Case, Sloan and Valvano
    2. He is NOT a Rogue.
    3. Why didn't TOB, Debbie Yow, Sidney Lowe and Gottfried KNOW?
    4. How did they stay eligible? (First year College is the answer)
    5. Tip of the ICEBERG
    6. Deny and deflect (see PackPride)
    7. State players stomped on the UNC logo in 2000. 8. Hypocrites

  • Riddickfield Nov 4, 6:48 p.m.

    So the story here is there is a shady character making contact with NC State student athletes. NC State basically did everything they could to follow the rules of the NCAA and keep this guy away from the campus. This is an example of doing things the right way. Bad people will come around, you don't have to welcome them.

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