Wealthy Member of Iconic du Pont Family Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
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Wealthy Member of Iconic du Pont Family Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

April 27, 2012

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70-year-old Richard S. du Pont, a wealthy scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families, is reportedly filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to a recent report from The News Journal, a Delaware-based publication.

Sources say that du Pont, who lives on a private country estate in Delaware, claimed in his bankruptcy papers that he owes more than $1 million in debt to various creditors and only has $50,000 worth of assets to his name.

The bankruptcy filing of a du Pont is somewhat shocking, given the fact that the family once ruled over a “near-feudal kingdom” in northern Delaware, and it reflects just how deep the scars of the recent recession have run.

Of course, du Pont himself won’t take pleasure in knowing that his bankruptcy may make Americans of more modest means feel better about their financial troubles. Du Pont seems to be in a world of financial hurt.

According to sources, du Point owes money to a wide range of creditors, including other members of his family, car financing companies, banks, and credit card companies.

Thus, it seems his debts are similar to those experienced by many Americans, as millions of families have recently struggled with common debts like car payments, medical debt, and credit card debt.

And du Pont’s bankruptcy reflects a trend among wealthy families. According to John Stapleford, the director of the Center for Economic Policy and Analysis, “[i]t's getting harder and harder for people of old money to stay extremely wealthy from generation to generation.”

To be fair, not many Delaware residents will be crying for du Pont. Sources say the man still leases a $5,875 country mansion built on nearly 12 acres that was purchased by the state several years ago. For this sale, du Pont received a cool $1.5 million from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

And du Pont rents the property from the state for roughly $500 a month, which is quite a deal for such a palatial spread. Sources suggest that du Pont may be able to stay in his home after his bankruptcy filing, but everything else of value that belongs to du Pont may soon be gone.


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