Real Life Jerry Maguire Files for Bankruptcy
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Real Life Jerry Maguire Files for Bankruptcy

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Leigh Steinberg, on whom the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire is based, has filed for bankruptcy protection, according to the Washington Post. In interviews, Steinberg has been candid and open about his reasons for choosing bankruptcy protection: apparently, his alcoholism led to an inability to manage his debts and investments, and now his bankruptcy court documents indicates that he owes creditors $3.1 million.

Steinberg has indicated, though, that his lawyers will likely end up revising his debt total upward. At the heart of Steinberg’s money troubles are two problems that fed on each other: first, his alcoholism, though sources note that he has now been sober for two years.

Secondly, Steinberg’s certification to act as a sports agent for NFL athletes has lapsed and he is unable to renew it because of a legal morass he’s found himself in. It seems that, while he was still drinking, one of Steinberg’s employees took a loan of $300,000 from former NFL Player Chad Morton, at the time a client of Steinberg’s.

Sources suggest that Steinberg was unaware of the loan at the time. After a while, Morton reportedly fired Steinberg and later sued, asserting that Steinberg and his employee defaulted on the loan.

Bankruptcy, Other Troubles Waited Two Years

For better or worse, Steinberg has told reporters that, despite his current bankruptcy filing, he actually “hit bottom” two years ago; since then, he has been sober and attempting to improve his life.

The drag time between Steinberg’s “bottom” and the fallout in the media and the bankruptcy court suggests mainly that a number of issues that had been simmering simply took a while to boil over. Though his financial circumstances are somewhat dire, Steinberg has taken responsibility for his actions and his debts, and acknowledged that his only hope of eliminating them is through bankruptcy court.

Though Steinberg earned an estimated $100+ million during his career, his current monthly net worth amounts to a mere $3.33: $3,583.33 in income, and $3,580.00 in expenses. Given these figures, it’s not surprising that Steinberg had to seek protection under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. It is unlikely that $3.33 would have left him with sufficient funds to cover a Chapter 13 repayment plan.


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