Lawyer-Vick may go to halfway house any day

Published on February 8, 2009 by     Seahawk Fanatic

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Ex-Falcons QB is serving 23-month sentence for federal dogfighting crimes

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A lawyer for Michael Vick told a federal bankruptcy judge Friday that the imprisoned NFL star could be transferred to a halfway house in Virginia any day.

The judge presiding over Vick’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case asked about the transfer during a hearing at which he also approved procedures to sell some of the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback’s property.

“He’s in the process of being released to the halfway house,” attorney Paul Campsen told Judge Frank Santoro. “We expect it to occur any day.”

But the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has not given Vick’s attorneys a specific date for the move, which Campsen said could occur with only “a day or so” notice.

Vick is serving a 23-month sentence at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kan., for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy. He is scheduled for release July 20 but could serve the last few months of his term at a halfway house in Newport News, his hometown.

“We believe he is ultimately going to be reinstated by the NFL,” said another Vick bankruptcy attorney, Michael Blumenthal.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has not said whether he will lift Vick’s suspension after his release. Vick once was the league’s highest-paid player before his indictment and guilty plea left both his finances and his reputation in tatters. He filed for bankruptcy protection in July, claiming assets of $16 million and liabilities of $20.4 million.

Papers filed in his bankruptcy case show exceptionally poor management of Vick’s fortune, including lavish and often unexplained spending and an array of questionable investments. The case has been complicated by poor record keeping and Vick’s sketchy knowledge of where his money was going.

Santoro said Vick’s finances could be “charitably described as in freefall” when he filed his bankruptcy petition.

As part of the case, Vick’s lawyers had to file a financial disclosure statement along with his proposed plan for reorganization. Santoro last month rejected the statement and ordered a new one, which he rejected again on Friday.

The judge said he found no fault with Vick’s lawyers’ efforts to sort out a complex mess but still found the disclosure statement difficult to comprehend.

“It’s clear to the court that the statement is the result of a very diligent effort to bring order out of what could accurately be described as the chaos of the debtor’s financial situation,” Santoro said.
But he said creditors who must read and understand the statement before voting on whether to confirm the bankruptcy plan probably would be confused. He gave the lawyers until Feb. 11 to draft a simplified version, including a chart to help creditors understand how Vick’s assets will be handled, and set another hearing for Feb. 27.

Santoro approved the hiring of brokers to sell five boats and four cars owned by Vick.

The judge also approved Vick’s plan to sell his suburban Atlanta home at auction. Blumenthal said the eight-bedroom home in a gated lake community has been shown to about 30 potential buyers, and a deal to sell the home for $3.15 million fell through at the last minute.

Now the plan is to start the bidding at $3.2 million. No date has been set for the auction.

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