The Philadelphia Eagles have gained a few unexpected fans since signing former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick—his Virginia creditors, all of whom hope Vick does make it back under center, if only so they can take a piece of his NFL salary.
The Philadelphia Inquirer examined Vick’s current financial state and how he got there in a recent article.
According to the Inquirer, in 2004, Michael Vick was as far away from bankruptcy as any American could get. He just signed a contract with the Atlanta Falcons for $130 million, not including millions more in endorsements he could earn on the strength of his three Pro Bowl appearances and highlight real feats on the field.
Vick seemed to have it made with professional football. But in his spare time he was banking on another "sport": dogfighting.
His arrest and subsequent prison term erased much of his rosy financial outlook, and, just last month, Vick’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan was approved by the bankruptcy court. He reported liabilities worth $20.4 million and assets worth $9 million. As Vick said himself in the filing, he was “not a sophisticated investor.”
He has sold three houses, seven cars and two boats in an effort to pay down debts. In a down real-estate market, this means many of the properties have been sold at a loss. His primary home, an eight-bedroom 11-bathroom mansion in Duluth, Ga., is still on the market with an asking price of $3.45 million.
Vick also started businesses with or for friends and family, including a rental car franchise, a janitorial company and a horse farm. None have survived to the present.
Vick entertained a parade of financial advisors, some of whom received power of attorney when he was in prison. Now that he is a free man again, Vick claimed that those that he trusted managed to lose most of his money.
As a part of his bankruptcy filing, Vick has listed 13 targets he intends to go after for damages—five former financial advisers, two insurance agents, a former business partner and a personal assistant who allegedly went rogue.
The Atlanta Falcons have also received a $5 million refund from bonus money given to Vick when he signed a ten-year deal. The club originally asked for $20 million, so the $5 million loss represents a victory of sorts for the embattled player.
As the dust settles on his bankruptcy case, Vick will be able to keep a house he owns near Newport News, Va., his boyhood home and three cars: a 2007 Land Rover driven by his fiancée and mother of his children, a Lincoln Navigator given to the mother of his son and a 2007 Infiniti. As a part of the plan, Vick will live on a budget of $300,000, the NFL minimum wage, still a sight better than the money made by your average reformed felon.
“I’m happy it’s over,” Vick told reporters last month when the bankruptcy plan was approved. “I think my lawyers did a great job. I commend the job. I commend the creditors’ committee, everybody. We finally got it all together. I’m just happy we can move forward.”
Currently the third-string quarterback for the Eagles and a world away from his glory days in Atlanta, Vick needs to make better choices, personally and financially, if he is to emerge from filing bankruptcy and reclaim some of his playing fame.