Judge wants new plan by July 2
NORFOLK, Va. -- A judge who rejected Michael Vick's first bankruptcy plan warned the suspended NFL star's lawyers Tuesday that they have just one more chance to file a workable proposal for repaying the millions he owes to creditors.
As Vick sat silently in the front of the courtroom, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank Santoro set a July 2 deadline for submission of a revised Chapter 11 plan. A hearing to confirm or reject the plan was set for Aug. 27.
Santoro said that if the new plan fails to address the shortcomings that prompted him to reject the first one in April, he will appoint an independent trustee to take over management of Vick's finances.
"The feasibility of it the last go-round, as I ruled, left something to be desired," Santoro said.
Santoro said he had major concerns about the first plan -- how Vick will make enough money to pay his obligations, and how he will come up with the more than $3 million to pay his lawyers within three years.
"Those are two pretty big holes," Santoro said.
Vick's attorney, Paul Campsen, said the new plan will make payment of legal fees contingent upon Vick's future income.
"If he doesn't make money, the lawyers don't get paid," Campsen said. "We've taken that burden off his shoulders."
Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback who once was the league's highest-paid player and among its most popular, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2008, claiming assets of $16 million and liabilities of $20.4 million.
The first plan was based heavily on an assumption that Vick would resume playing for the NFL. It would have allowed him to keep his first $750,000 in annual income, with a percentage of amounts over that going to creditors.
However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has not committed to reinstating Vick after he completes his 23-month sentence on July 20 for running a dogfighting ring. The only income Vick is assured of now is the $10 an hour he is making in a construction job that is part of the conditions of his home confinement, which began May 21.
Neither the judge nor Vick's lawyers specifically addressed the issue of Vick's return to the NFL at Tuesday's hearing.
Vick said nothing to a handful of reporters as he entered the courthouse, and again after he left in a Range Rover driven by his fiancée, Kijafa Frink. Before the hourlong hearing and during a brief recess, he smiled often and chatted softly with his lawyers and with Frink, who sat a few feet behind him in the first row of the gallery.
"He's just getting reunited with his family and back into the community," his criminal attorney, Lawrence Woodward, told reporters after the hearing before deflecting further questions about how Vick is faring since leaving the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan.
Along with the plan filing and confirmation dates, Santoro tentatively set a June 30 status hearing for update on the progress of drafting a new plan. He also scheduled a July 31 hearing on a revised financial disclosure statement that Vick will file this month. He reserved July 30 to hear motions, if any are filed.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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