U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Santoro denied a motion Tuesday to require Vick to attend an April 28 status hearing on his case in Newport News. Vick’s lawyers had hoped such an order would prompt U.S. marshals to leave him at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail in southeastern Virginia until then.
Santoro had ordered Vick to testify in person at a hearing last week, but the judge ruled Tuesday that he did not need Vick at the next hearing because no evidence will be presented. Vick and his lawyers are developing a new plan for the 28-year-old former Atlanta Falcons quarterback to pay back his creditors after Santoro rejected Vick’s Chapter 11 reorganization plan on Friday.
“It just means he’s going to end up back in Leavenworth, and we’ll have to deal with the case long distance,” said Paul Campsen, one of Vick’s bankruptcy attorneys.
Vick remained in the Suffolk jail late Tuesday afternoon, and it was unclear when he will be returning to the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., where he is serving a 23-month sentence for bankrolling a dogfighting ring. Vick is scheduled for transfer to home confinement in Hampton, Va., on May 21 and for release from federal custody July 20.
Vick’s lawyers have frequently lamented that the distance between their East Cost offices and Leavenworth has made his case exceedingly difficult to manage. Campsen said someone from Vick’s legal team will be traveling to Kansas to work with him before the status hearing.
Santoro said Friday that Vick’s plan to repay his creditors was not feasible, largely because there is no assurance that Vick will be able to resume his once-lucrative NFL career. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said only that he will review Vick’s status after he is released from prison.
Vick’s bankruptcy plan would have allowed him to keep the first $750,000 of his annual salary. Creditors would get part of any amount over that.
Santoro also was troubled by the plan’s reliance on money from speculative film and book deals to make $1 million in payments that will be due as soon as the plan takes effect, along with millions in other expenses Vick would soon face. he calculated that Vick would need to earn $7.5 million to $8 million annually to break even over the next three years.
But the only income Vick can count on in the near future is the $10 an hour he will earn in a construction job that is part of his probation.
Santoro suggested that a new, more realistic bankruptcy plan should start with Vick selling one or both of the luxury homes and the three cars he wanted to keep.