RICHMOND, Va. -- Michael Vick's "deteriorating financial
condition" prompted federal prosecutors to ask a judge to order
the former NFL star to set aside nearly $1 million for the care of
pit bulls seized from his dogfighting operation.
In court papers filed Tuesday, the government asked U.S.
District Judge Henry Hudson to issue a restraining order that
essentially would freeze about $928,000 to fulfill Vick's legal
obligation to cover the costs of caring for the dogs and finding
homes for them.
Vick faces a prison term of up to five years when he is
sentenced Dec. 10 on a federal dogfighting conspiracy conviction.
He voluntarily began serving his prison term early on Monday.
As part of his plea deal, Vick agreed to make restitution for
the care and placement of the 54 pit bulls confiscated from his Bad
Newz Kennels property in Surry County. Prosecutors cited a rash of
claims by Vick's creditors and former employer that threaten his
ability to make good on the agreement:
• An arbitrator's ruling that Vick should repay the Atlanta
Falcons nearly $20 million in bonus money.
• A lawsuit by Wachovia Bank claiming Vick and others defaulted
on a $1.3 million loan for a wine store.
• Royal Bank of Canada's lawsuit seeking payment for default on a
$2.5 million credit line.
• A lawsuit by 1st Source Bank of South Bend, Ind., seeking at
least $2 million for loans involving a rental car business.
"The current events outlined above regarding Vick's
deteriorating financial condition demonstrate the validity of the
government's concern about the defendant's ability to fulfill his
legal obligation by the time he is sentenced on December 10,
2007," prosecutors said in their motion.
Vick's lead attorney, Billy Martin, did not immediately respond
to telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment.
The prosecutors said the civil actions against Vick suggest
"demands for payment by Vick have gone unheeded," and that
published reports indicate the former Virginia Tech star has listed
a suburban Atlanta home for sale for $4.5 million.
Vick's troubles began in April when authorities conducting a
drug investigation of his cousin seized dogs and equipment linked
to dogfighting from a Surry County property.
Vick and three co-defendants pleaded guilty to dogfighting
conspiracy charges. Vick, suspended indefinitely by the NFL without
pay, admitted in his plea agreement to helping kill six to eight
pit bulls and supplying money for gambling on the fights.
The four men also face state felony charges. Vick has been
charged with two state felony counts -- beating or killing or
causing dogs to fight other dogs and engaging in or promoting
dogfighting. Each felony is punishable by up to five years in