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The World Was His.....Michael Vick

Discussion in 'Sports Talk' started by RobWin, Dec 8, 2008.

    Dec 8, 2008
  1. RobWin

    RobWin closed account

    Occupation:
    Who knows?
    Location:
    A Vault!
    Records show how Vick burned through fortune

    By ALAN JUDD

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Saturday, December 06, 2008


    The day he went to jail, Michael Vick bought a $99,000 Mercedes.

    He cashed four checks that totaled $24,900. He gave $28,000 to the mother of his oldest child. He paid a public relations firm $23,000 and gave a friend $16,000.

    Altogether on Nov. 19, 2007, Vick spent $201,840. But for the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, the day was most remarkable for how it ended: behind bars, beginning what would be a nearly two-year sentence in a notorious dogfighting case.

    The days spending, in fact, was but a small part of the $18.2 million that flew out of Vicks hands from 2006 to 2008, according to documents filed recently in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Norfolk, Va. Nearing the end of his time in federal prison, Vick, 28, is seeking the courts protection from his creditors.

    They are particularly interested in his increased spending in the three months before he reported for jail.

    The documents provide a detailed look at the privileged lifestyle of an athlete who rarely offered more than a glimpse of himself off the playing field. They show how Vick, who grew up poor in Newport News, Va., bought houses and cars, farms and horses, boats and jewelry, all at the height of a spectacular career that shattered after he was identified as the key figure in an illegal dogfighting ring.

    The bankruptcy filings also reveal Vick at his most vulnerable. Financial advisers, Vicks lawyers claim, took advantage of him. He poured money into businesses that failed. He took care of the needs of his relatives, paying for satellite television and cellphone service, for instance, and his mothers offerings to her church. He even gave each of his three co-defendants in the dogfighting case $150,000 for legal bills.

    For his own expenses, Vick seems to have relied heavily on cash.

    In 2007, documents show, he used cashiers checks to withdraw $908,500 from his bank accounts. During a two-year period, he wrote checks payable to cash totaling almost $1.1 million.

    His spending escalated as his prison sentence neared.

    From Aug. 27, 2007, the day he pleaded guilty in a Richmond federal courthouse, until Nov. 19, the day he bought the new Mercedes before reporting to jail, Vick shelled out $3,627,291.

    Those transactions are of special interest to groups seeking repayment from Vick, said attorney Ross Reeves of Norfolk, who represents unsecured creditors, including the Falcons. The team wants Vick to return $3.75 million from a 2004 bonus.

    Where did these assets go and for what purpose? Reeves said in an interview. A lot of what Mike Vick was doing was planning for being incarcerated. He wanted to provide for his family, and he made that clear.

    At the same time, Reeves said, creditors want to make sure Vick wasnt sheltering assets.

    Lawyers for Vick declined to comment.

    Whatever the case, everything Vick had may be gone. And resuming his old life when he gets out of prison next year seems a long shot.

    Vick is banned from the National Football League. Once the games highest-paid player, Vick now claims only a nominal monthly income from an investment account: $12.89.


    World is mine

    Not long after joining the Falcons, Vick bought his first house: a $918,000 mini-mansion behind the gates that guard the Sugarloaf Country Club in Duluth. Two years later, in April 2005, he upgraded to a larger house in the same neighborhood, for almost $3.8 million. Among his improvements to that property: a movie screening room and a golf simulator.

    Vick had money to burn. In 2004, after two seasons with the Falcons, he signed a new contract that, with potential bonuses, could pay him $130 million by 2013. Endorsement deals with Nike, AirTran Airways and others added millions more. In 2006 and 2007 alone, Vick took in almost $22 million.

    So, court records show, Vick went shopping.

    He bought four more houses, all in Virginia, and began building another.

    He bought a condominium in Miami Beach.

    He bought interests in two farms one in Virginia, one in Rockdale County, east of Atlanta.

    He bought six Paso Fino horses, worth about $450,000.

    He bought two boats, one for $100,000, the other for $125,000.

    He bought cars: a Bentley, two Land Rovers, Cadillacs, an Infiniti sport utility vehicle and an Infiniti sedan, two Ford pickup trucks, a Dodge, a Chevrolet, the $99,000 Mercedes.

    And he bought as much as $450,000 in jewelry. The pieces included two Swiss watches, a bracelet, a pair of diamond stud earrings, and a charm inscribed, World is mine.

    Vick shared with family and friends and with family of friends.

    In 2006, for instance, he bought his sister, Christina, a GMC Yukon. The next year, he gave a Lincoln Navigator to Tameka Taylor, the mother of his first child. The mother of Vicks other two children, Kijafa Frink, got a Land Rover; her mother, a Cadillac Escalade.

    Vick also took on recurring obligations. He paid Frinks mortgage and gave her $1,000 a month for clothes, court records say, and $300 for beauty-related expenses. He supported Taylor and their son with $3,500 a month.

    For his mother, Brenda Boddie, Vick covered a $4,700-a-month mortgage and $2,100 in payments for her two Cadillacs.

    In all, routine monthly bills for the mothers of Vicks children and for his own mother came to $31,293 more than $375,000 a year.


    Unlucky 7?

    To run his complicated financial life, Vick in 2005 created a management and marketing company, MV7 LLC. It provided income for at least two family members, according to public records: Vicks mother, whose salary approached $100,000 a year, and his sister, who earned about $22,000. The firm even had a retirement fund.

    MV7 was the first of several ventures that alluded to one or both of Vicks most valuable assets: his name and his jersey number.

    Divine Seven operated a Payless Car Rental franchise at the Atlanta airport. Seven Charms Farm raised horses. Vicktory Corp. oversaw family investments. Siete (Spanish for seven) delivered a gift of $317,000 to his mothers church a week before Vick pleaded guilty.

    Bad luck plagued many of Vicks enterprises.

    In 2006, Vick personally guaranteed a $2.1 million bank loan to Divine Seven in exchange for a 60 percent stake in the company. A little over a year later, the bank declared the loan in default. It obtained a civil judgment against Vick and is trying to collect through his bankruptcy case.

    In 2007, Vick put up $200,000 for a 60 percent interest in Seven Charms Farm, a 5-acre spread near Conyers. In September of this year, Rockdale County sold the property at auction to satisfy an unpaid property tax bill. The buyer got the property for $40,000.

    Vicks philanthropic efforts didnt fare especially well, either. In 2006, the Michael Vick Foundation provided 100 backpacks to poor children in Newport News and paid for an after-school program. But the foundation spent only 12 percent of its budget $20,590 of $171,823 on charitable programs, according to its 2006 federal tax return. The foundation paid its fund-raiser, Susan Bass Roberts, a former spokeswoman for Vick, $97,000, the tax return shows.

    Most of the foundations money came from Vick, Roberts said in an interview. But she declined to speak in detail about the foundation, which she described as kind of like ancient history.

    The foundation ceased operations in 2006.

    Most of the money left in the foundations bank account, $50,000, was withdrawn earlier this year by one of the succession of financial advisers Vick hired, court records say. Several advisers and business partners took money or other assets without Vicks approval, his lawyers told the bankruptcy court, adding that they may file lawsuits to recoup some of his losses. Vicks former associates have denied the allegations.

    Perhaps Vicks most successful company was the one that precipitated his fall from grace.

    Mike Vick Kennels LLC bred and sold pit bulls and, Vick ultimately admitted in court, staged and participated in illegal dogfights.


    A last spree

    After a highly publicized investigation that lasted several weeks, a federal grand jury indicted Vick on dogfighting charges on July 17, 2007. He pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson five weeks later, on Aug. 27, in Richmond. Hudson let Vick remain free on bond until a hearing on his sentence, scheduled three months out.

    Thus began Vicks last spending spree.

    He began by setting aside money for family members. He put $625,000 into two businesses that would make monthly payments to Frink, who then was pregnant with their second child. He also gave Frink $48,000 and an SUV to keep in Leavenworth, Kan., where he would serve his sentence.

    During his last weeks of freedom, though, Vick also spent $85,000 on a fish pond and $48,257 for landscaping. He bought a $31,000 Ford pickup and a $33,100 Chevrolet.

    Vicks financial records suggest he was hemorrhaging money. In the weeks before he went to jail, he made 48 cash withdrawals for a total of $325,945. The largest was on Sept. 19, for about $67,000. Using three cashiers checks, he withdrew an additional $90,000.

    Court documents do not reflect how Vick used the cash.

    Finally, on Nov. 19, Vick went to a car showroom in Hampton, Va. He picked out an andorite-gray 2008 Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan and, using his bank debit card, paid in full: $99,589.71.

    Then he drove to Richmond, surrendered to federal marshals and went to jail.

    The Mercedes now is in the hands of a group of creditors; they recently told a bankruptcy judge they have found a buyer willing to pay $65,000. A luxury-car broker is trying to sell the rest of Vicks vehicles.

    Under bankruptcy laws, Vick will be allowed to retain ownership of one house; he chose his mothers home in Suffolk, Va. He also is keeping $136,500 of home furnishings, $5,000 of clothes and a retirement account with a balance of $96.63.

    Vicks other houses are on the market. The proceeds of any sales would go toward paying off the mortgages.

    Repaying other creditors might be a challenge, especially if his suspension from professional football continues after his prison term.

    In addition to his other debts, Vick owes more than $1.2 million in back taxes, the Internal Revenue Service told his bankruptcy judge last month. That figure may increase, the IRS said in court papers; Vick has not yet filed his 2007 return.

    Still, Vicks court papers sound an upbeat note.

    After prison, his lawyers wrote last month, Vick will return to Virginia and will seek to rebuild his life and his career.

    Vick, they wrote, has every reason to believe that upon his release, he will be reinstated into the NFL, resume his career and be able to earn a substantial living.
     
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