Kevin Houser has played in every Saints game since 2000—only hiking the ball on kicks, but still—yet he was abruptly cut last week for no apparent reason. Unless you count failed investments that cost his teammates $2 million.
Over two dozen people with ties to the New Orleans Saints invested in a company called Louisiana Film Studios. A film studio in Louisiana sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, but it is actually a common and popular tax dodge thanks to generous credits given by the state to anyone who thinks it's a good idea to film a movie in a swamp. (Studios are allowed to sell the tax credits to wealthy individuals who then write the credit off on their taxes. The money turns into Heaven's Prisoners.)
It's a perfectly legitimate financial maneuver—provided the studio has actually been granted the credits by the state, which Louisiana Film Studios had not. The investors (including coach Sean Payton, Drew Brees, and Archie Manning) say they were duped and could lose all their money. Defensive end Charles Grant risked the most at $425,000.
So what does that have to do with Houser? In addition to being the longest-serving current member of the Saints, it seems he was the go-to financial expert on the team—he's a registered broker—and the only one who actually had direct contact with the studio. So because his teammates were stupid enough to write checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars based on the advice of a long snapper, Houser is out of job. (His profile page has already been scrubbed from the Saints website.) And possibly $125,000 of his own money that he, least of all, can afford to lose.
(Oh, and he runs a charity for sick kids. It just gets worse and worse.)
The head of the studio says it's all a big misunderstanding—the FBI never seems to understand—and the players will get their money back as soon as he finds new investors. (This is what's known as a pyramid scheme.) As for Houser ... I have this great script about a backup center who solves crimes with the help of a talking dog. It's gold.
More than two dozen with ties to the New Orleans Saints invested in movie studio deal [New Orleans Times-Picayune]
Former Saint Houser searching for answers [WWL TV]
Related: Saints Nation: Could Kevin Houser's Job be in Jeopardy? [Saint's Nation]