RICHMOND, Va. -- The trustee in Michael Vick's bankruptcy case is seeking repayment of at least $2 million that the NFL quarterback doled out to friends and family members in the months before he was sent to federal prison for running a dogfighting operation.
A complaint filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newport News says Vick knew his lucrative career was in jeopardy and that he would be facing huge legal bills, yet he continued to shower friends and relatives with gifts and cash. Those assets, trustee Joseph J. Luzinski argues, should have gone to Vick's creditors.
Attorneys for both Vick and the trustee say such filings are not unusual in complicated Chapter 11 cases like Vick's.
"We are not suing Mike Vick or accusing Mike Vick of fraud," said Luzinski's attorney, Ross Reeves. "This is about the proper distribution of assets Vick had before his bankruptcy."
Vick's bankruptcy attorney, Paul Campsen, called the filing "a garden-variety attempt to collect money." He said Vick fully disclosed the transfers, did nothing wrong and will continue to cooperate with the bankruptcy court.
Vick claimed about $20 million in debt when he filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July 2008, while he was serving a 23-month sentence at a federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan. Last summer, a bankruptcy judge approved a plan that allows Vick to keep $300,000 of his $5.2 million salary from the Philadelphia Eagles with the rest going to creditors.
The trustee's complaint seeks reimbursement from Vick's mother, Brenda Boddie; his fiancee and the mother of two of his children, Kijafa Frink; his brother, Marcus; his sister, Christina N. Vick; another relative, Terrance Vick; the mother of his first child, Tameka Taylor; and friends Tommy Reamon and Charles W. Reamon Jr.
"By engaging in the illegal conduct leading to his indictment, the Debtor knew he was engaging in activities certain to pose a threat to his employment and his assets," the trustee's complaint says. That threat became a certainty in April 2007, when Vick learned about the federal investigation, Luzinski wrote.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Vick, who at the time was the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, shortly before Vick pleaded guilty in August 2007. The commissioner conditionally reinstated Vick in July 2009, a week after Vick was released from federal custody. Vick signed with the Eagles a month later.
Goodell is again reviewing Vick's status after a co-defendant in the dogfighting case, Quanis Phillips, was shot and wounded outside a Virginia Beach nightclub as a birthday party for Vick was ending last month. Authorities have said Vick left shortly before the shooting and was not involved, but Goodell and the Eagles have said they are reviewing the matter.