Former UA football player Max Zendejas pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Pima County Superior Court to two counts of criminal damage in connection with a restaurant space he leased from the university.
Zendejas, a star kicker for the Wildcats from 1982 to 1985, owned and operated the restaurant Zendejas 13, at 1628 E. Sixth St. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office accused Zendejas, 50, of stripping the restaurant of equipment like a walk-in refrigerator, HVAC system, compressors, ceiling fans and kitchen sinks worth thousands of dollars after the business closed.
In the process of removing the items, UA Police and Attorney General’s investigators said Zendejas caused extensive damage to the interior and exterior of the building.
Zendejas could receive as much as two years in prison when he is sentenced. The judge also has the option of sentencing Zendejas to six months in Pima County jail instead of prison and imposing a six-year probationary term.
The judge also could impose as much as $150,000 in fines. Zendejas will be required to pay $68,000 in restitution to the university, which owns the property where the restaurant was located.
Zendejas’ attorney, Margo Cowan, requested her client be allowed to serve any probation in Maricopa County where he currently lives.
During his career at UA, Zendajas was named the team’s MVP in 1985.
He holds a school record for most points scored, with 360 for his career, and maintained a 73.8 field goal percentage rate.
Zendejas was drafted to the NFL in 1986 and left the league in 1988.
Sentencing in his case is scheduled for Sept. 30.