“Suspended Falcons quarterback Michael Vick testified in court last week that he is a changed man ready to take charge of his finances, but that wasn’t enough for the federal judge who rejected his plan to emerge from bankruptcy.
Judge Frank J. Santoro commended Vick for seeking to improve himself after spending nearly two years in prison in Leavenworth, Kan., on federal dogfighting charges.
But the no-nonsense judge told Vick the numbers simply don’t add up in his plan to climb out of debt, which totaled $20.4 million as of December.
Vick, for example, would have needed $1 million in cash to pull of his plan but could count on only about $210,000 for sure, Santoro told him. Also, Vick would have about $200,000 in annual living expenses under his plan, the judge said. But the only firm source of income Vick has lined up for himself once he gets out of prison next month is a $10-an-hour construction job.
Vick’s living expenses were based on him retaining three vehicles, including a 2007 Land Rover, a Lincoln Navigator and a 2007 Infiniti truck. He also planned to keep a home in Hampton, Va., for his mother, Brenda Boddie, and a home under construction in Suffolk, Va., for him and his fiancee and two young daughters.
Santoro suggested that Vick consider selling off more of his assets, including one of the two houses. The judge also told Vick he could face a $6 million to $9 million “hole” even after he pays his creditors.
“Your plan actually puts you below zero,” Santoro told Vick at the end of the two-day hearing in Newport News, Va., last week. “This plan will not work.”
Santoro called Vick’s other proposals to bring in income “speculative.” For example, the judge appeared skeptical about the one-page offer Vick received last week to star in a documentary for $600,000. Santoro pointed out that no one in the courtroom seemed to know much about the company that made the offer, Red Bird Entertainment.
Santoro also touched on another key part of Vick’s plan to pay his creditors: rejoining the NFL. Vick’s agent, Joel Segal, testified in bankruptcy court Thursday that he expects the NFL to reinstate Vick, and hopefully for the 2009 season. But, as Segal noted, that is not for certain.
The NFL suspended Vick indefinitely in 2007 after the details of his plea deal with prosecutors became public in his federal dogfighting case. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he will review Vick’s status after he gets out of prison but wants to see true contrition from him.
Segal said the minimum salary for a player with Vick’s experience would be $620,000 but he predicted Vick could get a multi-million dollar contract with incentives and “escalators,” if he is reinstated. Santoro said those escalators and incentives had not been specified.
At one point, Santoro asked Vick how long he thought he had left in his professional football career. Vick said he had another 10 to 12 years left, assuming he stays…