Exclusive: FBLA Interview with Jay Mariotti

If “So What Do You Do, Jay Mariotti” wasn’t enough for you, we have more from our exclusive interview with the former Around the Horn contributor and Venice resident.

In Part II, Jay Mariotti discusses in greater detail his relationship with Alison W., his departure from ESPN and what’s next for the opinionated sports columnist.

Did your legal troubles affect your relationship with your daughters? What did they initially think when they found out you were arrested?

The only call they allowed me to make from jail was to my oldest daughter. She kept her cool and she said, “Dad, this isn’t you.” They knew I was living out here now and they didn’t know who this woman was. It saddens me but to this day, the relationship is great. One is still in college at Syracuse. She’s overseas in London on an exchange program. The other one is working at McGraw-Hill. Great relationship and they understand everything. But they trust their dad.

Did they read the book?

Yeah. I told them it was coming. They knew a lot of the book would be about Chicago. This is only 10 chapters out of the 23. I think some of the bits and pieces might have shocked them, especially this last time around.

Since your book has been out, have you heard from Alison W’s attorney, Leonard Levine?

I don’t expect to. No. I think he’s a coward. He’s a man who tried to talk my current attorney into not defending me. I’ve never heard anything like that in my life. Leonard Levine called Shawn Holley and said I don’t think you should be representing this guy. She of course said you don’t know what’s going on here. You don’t know his side of the story. That’s the thing I had a problem with, Marcus. I never had a chance to tell my side of the story. This is unusual. I told it in the book. Take it or leave it, but that’s my side.

When you first met Alison W., did you think she was more interested in you or your money?

I think she had troubles at the time and she latched on to a fun that guy that might take her places and show her a new life. But I realized pretty early that she was abusive. It’s sad because you think someone is interested in you, and you start to realize … no. They’re trying to take advantage of you. I learned a tough lesson.

Looking back at things now, do you regret not paying Alison W. off in order to make this entire situation go away?

No, because I knew in the back of my mind that I was going to tell the story. I’m a writer and I’m a storyteller. I’m going to tell the story in a book. I was shocked a few days after the original plea bargain that I have to deal with situations where she’s calling the police. For instance, you and I might be here in doing this. If she walks in here and my back is to her, she can call the police and they can take me away. That’s how absurd a protective order is. I’m trying to educate people about the LAPD, protective orders and things people never think about unless they’re in the middle of these things. Do I regret it? No, because she didn’t get a penny of mine. I’m very proud of that. I think she was going to ask for a helluva lot of money. While I have lost a lot of money, at least I kept my principals here and didn’t allow her to get it. That meant a lot to me.

If you were so worried about the protective order, why did you continue to hang out in the same community?

She left town, I was told. But while it was happening, I was all over LA. I had gotten to know every restaurant downtown, Hollywood … I go to Mozza once a week. Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach, Malibu. I wasn’t hanging out here that much, but I do live two blocks away. I’ve known people in these places since I use to stay in the Marina when I was in Chicago. So I come to The Other Room. I introduce this girl to these places. She knew that’s where I would be hanging out because I knew people. It’s sad. I would ask the same question of her if you were that afraid of a person, why would you go follow them in? We wrote a letter to the city attorney just a few days after the plea bargain that she’s following me around and trying to get me arrested. He said just pay your bill and leave. They were aware of this for months and yet, they let it happen. I think I’d be critical of the city attorney’s office for not showing a little more care here. It was almost as if they wanted me to get in trouble again. It’s not their job to get me into trouble and generate another headline in the Los Angeles Times. That’s not their job. Their job is to keep the peace. So, I did go out of this area, but she kept the law filled with lies. To the point where I thank God pulled out all my receipts from credit cards that I was using religiously to prove that I wasn’t there that night, I was in Beverly Hills. But she was allowed to lie. The system allows her to lie. The district attorney’s office allows her to lie. I think a lot of people are getting railroaded because law enforcement can be very lazy and they think they can get away with things. They thought they could get away with this with me. Did they? I’m not going to jail. I’m going to do my community service and have fun with it. I’m going to go back to work and I just wrote a book about it. I’m not being defiant, I’m just being a watchdog, which is what I’ve done my whole life. I’m a journalist.

You mentioned Alison W. has since moved away. In the event she does return, are you prepared to handle the situation?

Well, you run out the back door. The owner of The Other Room and I have an Alison plan. Isn’t that awful? All she has to do is tell a bartender or a restaurant owner, “I have a protective order, can you tell that man to leave,” and I would leave. But she’s so bitter apparently that she turns it into a police thing. I want people to know how this went down. Because when people read the headlines and you read the stories, “Jay Mariotti stalks woman.” No, I was stalked. But she entrapped me in a bar and it was too late. I tried to run out and the police were right there because she had seen me before I was able to see her. She was able to call the police before I even knew she was in there. If I move to Westwood, she might see me in Westwood. I think the better idea is for law enforcement to understand that when women feel scorned, when we contact them very early in the process, how about doing something about it and giving her restraining orders so we both stay away from each other. They didn’t seem to be in the mood to do that. They apparently don’t care enough about keeping the peace.