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Ornstein’s involvement makes Saints situation thornier

Wild+Card+Playoffs+Detroit+Lions+v+New+Orleans+msF9rlfkW96l Getty Images

The sordid tale of bounties and under-the-cable cash payments within the walls of the Saints organization takes on a slightly different feel when considering that some of the money that went into the pot came from someone not actually a part of the team.

Mike Ornstein’s name appears not in the press release that came from the league on March 2, but in the “confidential” report prepared that same day by NFL Security.  During the 2009 playoffs, the man known commonly as “Orny” pledged (according to NFL Security) $10,000 toward the bounty.  Ornstein later promised $5,000 toward a bounty on an opposing quarterback in an email to coach Sean Payton.

Recently, Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune took a closer look at Ornstein’s involvement with the Saints, and Ornstein’s history of what Payton called in his book, Home Team, “a taste for mischief.”

Ornstein had a strong presence with the franchise in 2009, even though (as Duncan explains it) Ornstein got into a verbal altercation with owner Tom Benson (pictured) in the days preceding Super Bowl XLIV.  Eventually, Ornstein and Benson made up — and Ornstein got a Super Bowl ring.

Duncan also explains that the email offering a $5,000 bounty applied to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the first game of the 2011 regular season.

Given Ornstein’s history of convictions (for battery and later fraud and most recently conspiracy), his involvement could make the league come down harder on the Saints.  It also could attract the attention of the authorities, who initially could poke around in an effort to learn more about Ornstein’s motivations and later decide to delve more deeply into what ultimately was an organized effort to inflict injury for money.

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52 Responses to “Ornstein’s involvement makes Saints situation thornier”
  1. cubanotron says: Mar 10, 2012 9:26 PM

    You do realize that’s Tom Benson in the photo right?

  2. zn0rseman says: Mar 10, 2012 9:28 PM

    The real question that isn’t be unasked by the media is what contact did Ornstein have with NFL officials, such as those in the 2009 NFC Championship game?

    The fix was in and Ornstein facilitated it, but it would not have worked without help from certain NFL officials, which they clearly got.

    And this felon got a Super Bowl ring!

  3. gotampabay52 says: Mar 10, 2012 9:35 PM

    With Owner, GM, coaches and players all involed just move the saints to LA or strip Benson of his rights to own a team. This is crazy. Once fans had brown bags over their heads the team now puts bounties on other teams players heads. i hope saints necer win a game again………No on the board LA Saints. why should another city kose a team to LA take the Saints

  4. sakatak says: Mar 10, 2012 9:51 PM

    Dude is despicable, disgusting, deplorable. Lowlife like this should not be anywhere near a NFL team. Doesn’t say much for the Saints organization.

  5. mnsportsrube says: Mar 10, 2012 9:57 PM

    No team has ever stooped as low to win a superbowl as the saints did that year. Yeah, I’m probably biased because I’m a vikings fan but still… this whole situation has shady written all over it.

  6. Deb says: Mar 10, 2012 9:59 PM

    I wish NCAA and NFL teams would hang garlic and crosses over the stadium doors to keep these bloodsuckers away from their programs. It never works out well for the team when these vultures start waving their money around. Why should they get Super Bowl rings over and above any fan who’s been buying season tickets for 40 years? And when you know a guy has “a taste for mischief” but keep him around anyway, you deserve to get covered in stinky stuff when the poo hits the fan.

    Bounties, at least informally, have been around a long time. What’s taken this situation over the top is the coaches’ involvement and the outside bagman. Whatever happens with the Saints, I hope this Ornstein guy winds up in a cell.

  7. jharmon64 says: Mar 10, 2012 10:04 PM

    Where’s the part which explains who Mike Ornstein is and what his role or title was with the Saints?

  8. pacificnw7722 says: Mar 10, 2012 10:14 PM

    “Ornstein later promised $5,000 toward a bounty on an opposing quarterback in an email to coach Sean Payton.”

    Coach Payton is just as guilty as Gregg (Bounty Hunter) Williams and both SHOULD be thrown out of the NFL.

  9. snarkzilla says: Mar 10, 2012 10:14 PM

    Tape shows clearly that especially on the first Packers drive of the 2011 season, the Saints were headhunting Rodgers.

    Was Ornstein just a superfan, or was there another reason he funded a prohibited op that was designed to influence the outcome of games?

  10. dionoil says: Mar 10, 2012 10:25 PM

    Wonder when the IRS is going to poke its nose in this for taxes not paid on the bounties

  11. josiewales69 says: Mar 10, 2012 10:25 PM

    it dont say much for the officials either . I smell alot more troubles ahead for all involved. the ref’s in that game should be banned for life. it makes sense that they were in on it. nobody could miss that many calls unless they had something to gain from it like$$$$. the nfl better get it right if people start believing games are fixed they might as well call themselves wwfnfl

  12. mrslay1 says: Mar 10, 2012 10:35 PM

    Modern day Arnold Rothstein. The real story here will not be told, officals and certain players on the take (and not these little money bounties) but BIG MONEY. And most of us know what that means. There is a reason the odds makers are always so accurate.

  13. ramjam28 says: Mar 10, 2012 10:36 PM

    They should have got Dog to break down his door and put him in cuffs. Then Leland could have given him a cigarette. Bad joke.

  14. davikes says: Mar 10, 2012 10:47 PM

    Let’s see, a two time felon spends tens of thousands of his own money to give the Saints an advantage. Why would he do that? Betting big money on the Saints? The NFL is probably hoping that people don’t figure this out. But if they can prove Payton knew about Ornstein’s contributions to the bounty fund, they should ban Payton for life.

  15. Deb says: Mar 10, 2012 10:47 PM

    snarkzilla says:

    Was Ornstein just a superfan, or was there another reason he funded a prohibited op that was designed to influence the outcome of games?
    ————————————————-
    That’s the big question, Mike. What we really want to know is if this involved gambling? Hasn’t this Ornstein guy done time for other illegal sports-related activities?

  16. vontazemebro says: Mar 10, 2012 10:55 PM

    Maybe Aikman will be proven right someday.

  17. rexryanstoecheese says: Mar 10, 2012 10:57 PM

    Ornstein’s official position with the saints was
    “Director/Liaison – la Cosa Nostra, Division”
    and the address on his letterhead was,
    1,000 Over/Under Boulevard
    Las Vegas, NV”

  18. rexryanstoecheese says: Mar 10, 2012 11:04 PM

    In a related story, unnamed sources have reported that Ornstein’s official title with the Saints was:

    Director/Liaison, la Cosa Nostra Division

    and his office was located at:

    1000 Over/Under Boulevard, Suite -7 1/2
    Las Vegas, NV 65748

  19. boobsmcgoo says: Mar 10, 2012 11:14 PM

    We still have to hear the Vikings fans crying? The Saints “cheated”? The officials and the NFL were in on the conspiracy? Guess what? “This isn’t Detroit, man! This is the Super Bowl!” I love that!

  20. pftcensorssuck says: Mar 10, 2012 11:17 PM

    Once you have the presence of an “outsider” in something as seedy as this bounty system, it practically SCREAMS that someone in the gambling business – legal or not – is potentially going to influence a game, or even an entire season, by putting up a bounty of their own.

    This sounds dirty; MUCH dirtier than just a coach or fellow players putting up their own money – as bad as that is.

    The NFL has real concerns here.

  21. vtopa says: Mar 10, 2012 11:44 PM

    Gimme a break. Can we save the Saints bashing for after they figure out what the real story is?

  22. coosmac says: Mar 10, 2012 11:45 PM

    I think NFL needs to come down really hard on Saints(and the coaches). Much larger chunks of bounty money could come from bookies in the future.

  23. jason1980 says: Mar 10, 2012 11:47 PM

    The Saints scare you guys bad, I love it!!! That’s what I call a bada$$ team. When loser fans hate your franchise that badly, it’s because you scare the bejesus out of them. Geaux SAINTS!!!!

  24. 69finfan says: Mar 11, 2012 12:00 AM

    Bountygate is getting wilder and wilder. This guy received a Super Bowl ring from Tom Benson. Are you frickin kiddin me. He obviously had more invlolvement than what has been disclosed. IMO this is just the tip of the iceberg, but whether Sir Roger allows everything to be revealed we’ll have to wait and see. Stay tuned, should get interesting. And people talk about the Fins being dysfunctional.

  25. askbri says: Mar 11, 2012 12:24 AM

    So what do we have? Sean Payton bragging about Ornstien in his book… An email to Sean Payton alerting him of the $5000 bounty on Aaron Rodgers… Payton’s smug face and Drew Brees claiming the Saints is a organization with the utmost integrity…

    Sounds like organizational garbage from top to bottom in New Orleans. Never would’ve been in the Super Bowl. Don’t desvere the title.

    Better run for cover Saints! You’re on the downhill slide. It’s F-in Over!

    Buhahahaha!

  26. doublebro says: Mar 11, 2012 12:29 AM

    The hits just keep coming for the Saints…their fans are still in denial however. Welcome back to mediocrity, or worse NOLA.

  27. jonny42671 says: Mar 11, 2012 1:03 AM

    Of course the refs were pd off, but the NFL will never let that out. The fix was in for sure. Enjoy your ASTERISK Superbowl.

  28. nolarules says: Mar 11, 2012 1:11 AM

    This site is filled with pillow biters…. Please someone explain why we Saints fans deserve to lose our team to LA for something we had no part in? And move the team? They do not move teams that actually sell out games. Losers.

  29. grannyvi4 says: Mar 11, 2012 1:15 AM

    davikes says:Mar 10, 2012 10:47 PM

    Let’s see, a two time felon spends tens of thousands of his own money to give the Saints an advantage. Why would he do that? Betting big money on the Saints? The NFL is probably hoping that people don’t figure this out. But if they can prove Payton knew about Ornstein’s contributions to the bounty fund, they should ban Payton for life
    ———————-
    Ornstein actually sent Payton an email committing $5000 to the bounty. So, yeah, Payton damn well knew about it and he should also be banned, along with Williams. I wasn’t sure about Benson, but if he and Ornstein argued before the SB and Ornstein ends up with a ring, then Benson shouldn’t be an owner of any team after this. It’s bad enough that coaches and players contributed to the bounty, but when outside money enters into it, there’s only one reason for it.

    No fans deserve this from their team, even Nawlins fans…and I’m a Vikings fan.

  30. xxwhodatxx says: Mar 11, 2012 1:23 AM

    Is it the cold that makes you vikes fans so insane?

  31. kappy32 says: Mar 11, 2012 3:14 AM

    He offered $5,000 in bounty money through an e-mail to SEAN PAYTON??!! Where are the posts showing that Payton is a flat-out, no good liar? The guy made an immediate statement that he knew nothing of the bounty, but no e-mails are surfacing where he was offered money to contribute to the bounty? If this is true, Payton should lose his job, no questions asked. Gregg Williams admitted his fault & took responsibility from the onset. Payton, on the other hand, lied through his teeth. I’m sure he lied to the NFL investigators as well. Head coaches are held to a higher standard & he blatantly broke the rules & has lied about it. He & Mickey Loomis should be shown the door once their year-long suspensions are finished. The Saints need to set an example that this type of complete insubordination will not be tolerated & show that there are more important things than winning.

  32. vikingdoode says: Mar 11, 2012 3:41 AM

    Wouldn’t surprise me if organized crime was involved…las vegas betting means lotta money!

  33. tatum064 says: Mar 11, 2012 3:42 AM

    zn0rseman says:
    Mar 10, 2012 9:28 PM
    The real question that isn’t be unasked by the media is what contact did Ornstein have with NFL officials, such as those in the 2009 NFC Championship game?

    The fix was in and Ornstein facilitated it, but it would not have worked without help from certain NFL officials, which they clearly got.

    ============================

    Yeah, that phantom p.i. call on Ed Thomas, pretty much sealed the deal. Of course FIVE freakin Viking turnovers nearly made the “fix” impossible to detect.

  34. jenniferxxx says: Mar 11, 2012 5:31 AM

    Wow, what a total fall from grace.

  35. usedtool says: Mar 11, 2012 6:06 AM

    The NFL, via the refs, has been crooked for a very long time. My father has been dead over 30 years yet he taught me about the “other Rozelle rule”, that certain teams in important-big money games only, had important calls or non-calls go in their direction. And that which team got this benefit was based on where the big money was in illegal betting. Proof? I give you:

    A) The game where New England got an unfair advantage by having the spot for a field goal cleared mechanically before a kick. The NFL claimed they had no rule to cover the situation.

    B) The “tuck rule” game when the NFL created a rule to cover up crooked officiating by inventing a rule in the past tense.

    C) The “Holy Roller” when the officials could have ruled an illegal forward pass (but didn’t) at least three times. Then, after getting the result that benefited the illegal gamblers, the NFL said they needed to have a new rule to cover this situation (as if scooping the ball forward was technically a “fumble”). They gave the illegal play a fancy name, made it one of glory in their film history, then quietly got rid of the officials involved.

    D) The “Hail Mary” in which the Dallas receiver clearly commits Offensive Pass Interference. The “missed call” was so egregious it took the Highway Patrol and members of the National Guard to get the officials off the field alive. One damned near didn’t survive (he was hit in the head with a Schnaaps bottle and spent many days in the hospital). The NFL never makes mention of the riot in the stands. Instead they use their film arm t0 make the play appear to be one of glory. The NFL never mentions that they quietly got rid of the official who failed to make the appropriate call before the next season.

    More than 30 years ago my father taught me that officials try to rig big money NFL games. Show me some proof that that they are honest, or that the NFL isn’t quietly getting rid of crooked refs every year. Please show me.

  36. joetoronto says: Mar 11, 2012 6:49 AM

    zn0rseman says:
    Mar 10, 2012 9:28 PM
    The real question that isn’t be unasked by the media is what contact did Ornstein have with NFL officials, such as those in the 2009 NFC Championship game?

    The fix was in and Ornstein facilitated it, but it would not have worked without help from certain NFL officials, which they clearly got.

    And this felon got a Super Bowl ring!
    **************************************************
    Exactly, this is what makes this scandal a potential powder keg for the NFL.

    Most people just don’t understand how important this is, once the majority of fans think the NFL is rigged, it’s goes the way of the dodo bird and professional boxing.

  37. andrewsherylandharry says: Mar 11, 2012 7:06 AM

    People are right to be concerned regarding Ornstein’s influence and how it could be leveraged in gambling circles, but it would have nothing to do the spread. These days you can bet on 30+ markets on every NFL game online or offshore (remember too it is legal to gamble on sports in the USA, it is illegal to run a book, or receive the bet.) You get better odds on first play of the game to be a pass than you do against the spread. You can influence first timeout, first penalty, first challenge, all of these require just one of two people on the take. For better returns you can spread bet, betting under the total number of passing yards, the larger the difference under, the more you win. These markets would be greatly influenced by having a back up quarterback in.
    The US public needs to forget about the points spread and the over / under. Every other major sport internationally has had ‘spot fixing’ scandals, this is the danger of the Ornstein influence and one of the reasons the NFL would actually be happy to have the narrative be the ‘bounty’ talk.

  38. snarkzilla says: Mar 11, 2012 7:30 AM

    Ornstein: 1995 convicted of mail fraud. 1998-2006 scalped Super Bowl tix and sold fake “game worn” jerseys on a large scale, convicted 2010 of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property, money laundering and mail fraud. Involved in the Reggie Bush mess.

  39. snarkzilla says: Mar 11, 2012 7:31 AM

    Ornstein: 2009-2011 funded the Saints’ prohibited pay for performance scheme to influence the outcome of games.

  40. paulitik74 says: Mar 11, 2012 8:27 AM

    I bet there are a few refs whose wallets got a little thicker due to Mr. Ornstein.

    The NFL needs to quit covering for Benson and open up this investigation to more than just the Bounty pool. There was a lot more join going on that that.

  41. howiefeltersnatch says: Mar 11, 2012 8:35 AM

    The New Orleans Taints. Did someone say that yet?

    The more I read crap like this:

    “Ornstein later promised $5,000 toward a bounty on an opposing quarterback in an email to coach Sean Payton.”

    The sicker this whole thing makes me.

  42. easyeddie says: Mar 11, 2012 9:48 AM

    snarkzilla says: Mar 11, 2012 7:30 AM

    Ornstein: 1995 convicted of mail fraud. 1998-2006 scalped Super Bowl tix and sold fake “game worn” jerseys on a large scale, convicted 2010 of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property, money laundering and mail fraud. Involved in the Reggie Bush mess.
    ————————————————

    Great post! How did this scum even get that close to the Saints? Sean Payton needs to be fired.

  43. easyeddie says: Mar 11, 2012 9:57 AM

    usedtool says: Mar 11, 2012 6:06 AM

    The NFL, via the refs, has been crooked for a very long time. My father has been dead over 30 years yet he taught me about the “other Rozelle rule”, that certain teams in important-big money games only, had important calls or non-calls go in their direction. And that which team got this benefit was based on where the big money was in illegal betting. Proof? I give you:

    A) The game where New England got an unfair advantage by having the spot for a field goal cleared mechanically before a kick. The NFL claimed they had no rule to cover the situation.

    B) The “tuck rule” game when the NFL created a rule to cover up crooked officiating by inventing a rule in the past tense.

    C) The “Holy Roller” when the officials could have ruled an illegal forward pass (but didn’t) at least three times. Then, after getting the result that benefited the illegal gamblers, the NFL said they needed to have a new rule to cover this situation (as if scooping the ball forward was technically a “fumble”). They gave the illegal play a fancy name, made it one of glory in their film history, then quietly got rid of the officials involved.

    D) The “Hail Mary” in which the Dallas receiver clearly commits Offensive Pass Interference. The “missed call” was so egregious it took the Highway Patrol and members of the National Guard to get the officials off the field alive. One damned near didn’t survive (he was hit in the head with a Schnaaps bottle and spent many days in the hospital). The NFL never makes mention of the riot in the stands. Instead they use their film arm t0 make the play appear to be one of glory. The NFL never mentions that they quietly got rid of the official who failed to make the appropriate call before the next season.

    More than 30 years ago my father taught me that officials try to rig big money NFL games. Show me some proof that that they are honest, or that the NFL isn’t quietly getting rid of crooked refs every year. Please show me.
    ——————————–
    I know a lot of people are upset over the Saints/Ornstein scandal and rightly so — I am as well.
    However, your argument that the refs rig big games can’t be proven by listing the above. Your points are not proof at all.
    Neither can it be unproven by showing, as you put it, “some proof that that they are honest, or that the NFL isn’t quietly getting rid of crooked refs every year.”

  44. umrguy42 says: Mar 11, 2012 10:11 AM

    So, after they get done looking at Auburn for points shaving, will the FBI be looking at the Ornstein-Saints link, and will we be seeing the Saints brought up on RICO charges?

  45. squealerweasel says: Mar 11, 2012 10:25 AM

    “Outside Money” is the elephant in the room! This directly affects the integrity of the game, and as we all know, that is the one thing that the NFL will never compromise on is INTEGRITY. Any player or coach knows if “outside money” can influence incentive-based perfomances, this “taints” the game. The NFL doesn’t even want coaches or players associating with known criminals/gamblers. So, if they accepted outside money to fund these bounties, it’s a wrap! Strike Two and Three(after the little vicodan incident). We shall soon see how serious they are about the purity of the game.

  46. melikefootball says: Mar 11, 2012 10:30 AM

    It is time for God-del to step up and stand on his word of cleaning up the NFL. He was willy nilly on the Pats in cheating but after all he has done on the players with fines for what he feels is bad hits and behaviour, time to hammer down on coaches, GM’s and owners on this.

  47. hallcyon says: Mar 11, 2012 10:33 AM

    This fellow hangs out with Sean Payton and the Saints on a regular basis. This I didn’t know blah blah blah is tantamount to lying, as it’s not taking responsibility. People here in New Orleans and especially Mandeville know the seedier side of the Saints in the Sean Payton era. Benson is willing to accept and cover up for those he favorites. This has lead to the ouster of various players and management. If anyone thinks Tom Benson or the rest of the team didn’t know, you are willfully ignorant. This is the seediest organization is the NFL and I am a New Orleanian and Saints fan. I love the Saints, but will admit when they are wrong. Benson, Loomis, Payton, Vitt, & Vilma all need to be suspended from the NFL for a year (at the very least). They defied and lied to the NFL breaking the CBA and other legal agreements. As this organization has disgraced the NFL, the game itself and the people of southern Louisiana – may Commissioner Goodell give the harshest penalty possible. Furthermore, the NFL should put the team on probation, and that they must qualify with certain suggestions to clean up their club and have it reviewed over the next three years to make sure they have obeyed and implemented such.

  48. hallcyon says: Mar 11, 2012 11:30 AM

    One more thing – it’s sad that there are so many apologists for the Saints criminal and unethical behavior. It has no place is sports.

  49. dissapointmentprone says: Mar 11, 2012 11:34 AM

    I love how dillusional the aints fans are. They want to put everything on Williams now that he’s gone, and continue to support everybody on the team who was involved and then follow it up with the ol “everybody’s doing it” excuse. Last time I checked the players are grown ass men, let them speak for themselves… Errrr wait let their lawyers continue to speak for them. Drew brees is a phony, you mean to tell me this is YOUR team and you had no idea!?? Dow-k

  50. dd393 says: Mar 11, 2012 12:59 PM

    Two bit hustler who weasled his way into the NFL and now look at the result. Ban him for life. Suspend Payton for a year. Ban Williams for life. Suspend Loomis for a year. Take away the Saints first round draft pick. Only then will the NFL mean business and save their credibility regarding concussions and injuries.

  51. colt2011 says: Mar 11, 2012 2:30 PM

    One bombshell after another. The plot thickens. So Money IS the root of all evil!

    Heads will roll. Lots of heads.

    (1st game of season, they put a hit on Rodgers! Lowest of the low! Can’t win without cheating and resorting to criminal assault! This fiasco is a huge disgrace to the NFL.)

  52. axespray says: Mar 11, 2012 3:33 PM

    zn0rseman says:Mar 10, 2012 9:28 PM

    The real question that isn’t be unasked by the media is what contact did Ornstein have with NFL officials, such as those in the 2009 NFC Championship game?

    The fix was in and Ornstein facilitated it, but it would not have worked without help from certain NFL officials, which they clearly got.

    And this felon got a Super Bowl ring!
    —————————————-
    So did Peterson get paid to fumble away the game? Did Childress get paid to put 12 men in the huddle, did the vikings oline get paid not to block oncoming blitzers?
    Grow up

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