BAD BOUNCE: Basketball Academy Possible Scam
Glendon Alexander had a bright future in basketball. He was a 1996 McDonald’s All American, played for Arkansas and Oklahoma State and still holds the Texas 5-A scoring record.
“He’s the same class as Kobe Bryant,” said Terry Howat, the founder of F3 Basketball, a training facility in Urbandale.
But Alexander never made it to the NBA. Instead, he ended up playing basketball behind the walls of a federal prison where he served time for bank and wire fraud.
He was released in 2006. Now, he’s in the Des Moines area coaching a basketball prep academy. Some including Howat are questioning Alexander’s intentions.
“He’s very personable, but that’s part of being a con-man, right?”
Howat says Alexander reached out to him last year. He told Howat he was moving back to Des Moines. Howat knew all about Alexander’s past but he wanted to give him a second chance. So, he hired Alexander to coach at the F3 facility.
He also allowed Alexander to use the facility to coach his prep academy, ABCD Basketball.
“He’d be here five or six hours a day. End of the second month, I said, ‘We have to have rent.’ Well then the disappearing act.”
Not only did Howat not get his rent money, he also paid a $1,600 bill at the Valley West Inn where Alexander originally housed his “ABCD Basketball Academy” players.
The players that remain in the Academy now live in a house on 26th Street near Drake University. Spencer Vandeberg owns the home.
“I first met Glendon about six months ago, when he was interested in renting from me.”
Vandeberg said Alexander seemed “like a really nice guy,” until he tried to collect rent.
“Rent started slipping behind, caught back up, wrote a couple bad checks.”
Alexander is also accused of writing a bad check to a church. He purchased a van from Westminster Presbyterian for $2,000. According to the police report, the business administrator for Westminster tried to contact Alexander by phone, email and certified mail, but again, the “disappearing act.”
We had a hard time tracking him down too. When we knocked on the door at his last known address on 64th Street, the woman, believed to be his wife, told us she’d kicked him out a month ago.
“It makes me sick,” Howat told us. He doesn’t like losing money but believes the big losers in this game are those who enrolled in Alexander’s prep academy. Among them, Emmanuel Malou. Malou, a standout forward from Australia caught the eye of Iowa State University basketball. He’s no longer being recruited, in part because Alexander failed to complete the proper paperwork.
Kelly Baker’s son, Harry tells a similar story. Baker took $4,000 out of her 401K to pay Harry’s ABCD Basketball Academy tuition.
“I’m a single Mom,” said Baker. “I live pay check to pay check.”
In exchange, Alexander promised tutors and Wi-Fi so Baker’s son could take online classes to improve his GPA. Alexander said a chef would prepare two meals a day. The contract also guaranteed 20-minutes of playing time in each of the 35 to 40 scheduled games.
“There was no alarms in that house,” said Baker. “There was no hot water for two weeks, never any Wi-Fi. He had to share a role of toilet paper with another boy for two weeks.”
A month into the program, Baker called a cab for her son and put him on a bus back to Ohio. She left Alexander with these parting thoughts.
“Shame on you. You could’ve turned your life around and helped these kids. Instead, you’re the same that you were in the past.”
Howat believes it will all eventually catch up to Alexander.
“Karma will catch you. It will come back to bite you.”
We called and texted Alexander repeatedly. He returned one call, during which he denied bouncing any checks. He promised to call back to schedule an interview but we never heard from him again despite our continued attempts to reach him.
Des Moines police are still investigating the bounced check to the church and Vandeberg has filed a civil suit in an effort to collect the rent he says Alexander still owes him.