Durham man denies providing improper benefits to Hairston
Posted July 9, 2013
Updated July 10, 2013
Durham, N.C. — A convicted felon with ties to University of North Carolina basketball player P.J. Hairston told WRAL Tuesday the UNC athlete has not received any improper benefits from him.
Hairston has been pulled over twice in rental vehicles traced to the same Durham address, raising questions about possible NCAA violations.
Durham's Haydn “Fats” Thomas, 39, rented the silver GMC Yukon that Hairston was driving when he was pulled over June 5 and cited for driving without a license and possession of marijuana. In a May 13 stop, Hairston was charged with speeding while driving a vehicle rented by Thomas’ wife Catinia Farrington. Farrington rented the Chevrolet Camaro for 54 days ending June 17, at a cost of $3,249.
Thomas told WRAL he doesn't know what all the fuss is about.
He said if there was a problem, the NCAA would be knocking at his door and said that hasn't happened. He added that UNC and its athletic department have not contacted him either.
Thomas said he let Miykael Faulcon, a basketball player at Elizabeth City State, borrow cars he and his wife rented. Thomas, who called himself a party promoter and is a co-owner of an exotic car rental company in Durham, said Faulcon does odd jobs and yard work for him.
Faulcon was in the Yukon when Hairston was pulled over in Durham. During the stop, police found a half-ounce of marijuana, a 9mm handgun and ammunition in and near the car.
Thomas said Faulcon and Hairston are friends and he thinks Faulcon let Hairston drive. Faulcon denied WRAL's request for an interview while playing in the NC Pro-Am at Durham School of the Arts Tuesday.
Thomas also told WRAL that cars rented in his name were ticketed on the UNC campus, but he again said Faulcon was likely the one on campus.
Thomas has been convicted of at least nine offenses – four of them felonies – in Durham and Wake counties since 2006. Offenses include drug paraphernalia possession, obtaining property by false pretense, carrying of a concealed weapon, possession of stolen goods and printing and spending false money.
But, Thomas said there is nothing criminal, and certainly no NCAA violation, regarding his ties to Hairston or other UNC players like Leslie McDonald or former basketball player John Henson. Thomas says he knows Hairston, he really doesn't "know" him. Thomas calls them just passing acquaintances.
UNC leaders continue to deny requests for interviews and said Monday Hairston’s status with the team has not changed. Calls to Thomas’ and Hairston’s lawyers had not yet been returned by Tuesday evening.