Report: Durham resident connected to Hairston

Jul. 07, 2013 @ 12:17 AM

On May 13, North Carolina junior P.J. Hairston was stopped for speeding. Three weeks later, he was arrested at a license checkpoint and charged with possession of marijuana.

In both cases, the Tar Heels’ leading scorer last season was driving rental cars that have been connected to Durham resident and convicted felon Haydn Patrick “Fats” Thomas, according to USA Today.

When Hairston was cited for going 54 in a 45 mph zone on Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., he was driving a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS with Virginia license plates. USA Today reported Saturday that the car was rented by Catania Farrington, who shares a Durham address with Thomas.

On Wednesday, Thomas admitted to renting the luxury SUV that Hairston was driving when he was arrested, but he denied giving it to Hairston. Instead, Thomas said he lent the 2013 GMC Yukon to Durham resident Miykael Faulcon, who was a passenger when the car was stopped.

Hairston’s eligibility would be in jeopardy if he received benefits because of his status as an athlete.

Team spokesman Steve Kirschner said the school is aware of the latest developments with Hairston and is looking into it, but will not comment on compliance issues.

The school has not issued a statement since Hairston’s arrest, but Kirschner said that Hairston’s status on the team has not changed.

UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said last month that the school is looking into any ties between Hairston and fellow Greensboro resident Rodney Blackstone, who has been accused of giving $10,000 to the AAU coach of former Kansas guard Ben McLemore in order to land the future lottery pick as a client.

Hairston, who considered leaving for the NBA after averaging 14.6 points a game as a sophomore, is scheduled to be on court on Aug. 2 for the speeding ticket and on Aug. 6 for the drug charge.

A 9mm handgun and ammunition was also seized from the ground outside the rental car during Hairston’s arrest, but police haven’t linked those to Hairston, Faulcon or the third passenger, Durham resident Carlos Sanford.

The 39-year-old Thomas was arrested in December and charged with possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a firearm by a convicted felon, as well as maintaining a dwelling for selling a controlled substance.

Thomas’s criminal record includes two felony convictions in 2006 and two misdemeanor convictions in 2002.

USA Today, which obtained the Hertz receipts from both rentals, reported that Farrington was charged $3,249 for 54 days and Thomas was charged $1,261.64 for three days.