When Josh Gordon needed $500 to get out of jail Saturday, a familiar name came to his rescue.
WNCN in Raleigh reports court records show Gordon's DWI charge bond was posted by Haydn Patrick "Fats" Thomas—the same man linked to two rental cars driven by former North Carolina hoops star P.J. Hairston when Hairston was stopped by authorities last year.
And Thomas recently resolved legal troubles of his own, pleading guilty in November to charges of possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the Associated Press. He was sentenced to 36 months probation.
So who is "Fats" Thomas?
The Herald-Sun in Durham has called him a party promoter and officer manager at a dental practice. When asked how he knew so many UNC athletes, Thomas told the News & Observer in Raleigh: "We throw parties, for Christ's sake."
The News & Observer and Indy Week also reported that Thomas had been the security manager at the same strip club as Crystal Mangum, the dancer whose false rape accusations sparked the Duke lacrosse scandal.
Thomas has a lengthy rap sheet in North Carolina. According to the state's public safety department, his arrests include:
- Charges of carrying a concealed weapon and possessing stolen goods in 2002.
- In late 2005, he was charged with obtaining property or services from slot machines, etc., by false coins or tokens.
- In December 2005, he was charged with use/possession of drug paraphernalia and accessing computers to defraud.
- Charges of possession of a firearm by a felon, drug possession and possession/use of drug paraphernalia in 2012.
But he's never spent time in jail or prison, corrections records show.
His name surfaced again last May, this time in connection to Hairston. First, Hairston was cited for speeding in a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro rented by Thomas and a woman sharing Thomas' address, according to multiple reports. USA Today later reported that the same Camaro — registered in Virginia — had racked up a dozen campus parking tickets in just two months.
In June 2013, Hairston was in an SUV rented in Thomas' name when it was pulled over a Durham police checkpoint. Police found marijuana and a handgun inside, Indy Week reported. The marijuana charge was dismissed after Hairston finished a drug assessment program, per AP.
Hairston wasn't the only UNC athlete who Thomas hung around. WRAL kept a running list of players linked to him via social media or public records, which included Leslie McDonald, John Henson, Dexter Strickland, Harrison Barnes, and Greg Little.
As for Thomas, Durham Court Superior Judge Carl Fox had these words for him back in November, "Quit while you're ahead."