NFL: Vick was a lavish spender

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 22, 2008

By Larry O’Dell
Associated PressRICHMOND, Va. ó Michael Vick was once the NFL’s highest-paid player, and he spent like it.
One of his friends tools around in a $31,000 Cadillac DTS. His former personal assistant steers a $45,000 Infiniti M45 and has a pair of power boats. His brother Marcus has a $62,000 Land Rover and his sister a Yukon Denali.
But Vick himself is busted, millions of dollars in debt and making 12 cents an hour in his job at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., where he serving a 23-month sentence on dogfighting charges.
With Vick due to plead on state charges next week ó he was returned to Virginia on Thursday ó The Associated Press reviewed the details of his bankruptcy filing. The documents reveal astoundingly bad financial management of the quarterback’s fortune.
His salary from the Atlanta Falcons was $11.4 million in 2006 and $6 million in 2007. Along with substantial income from endorsements, the windfall allowed Vick to spread the wealth, paying mortgages and bills for family members and keeping them flush in spending money.
“Chump change,” Vick wrote on one $1,000 check to his mother.
But his balance sheet is now grim. Vick claims assets of $16 million and liabilities of $20.4 million. He’s on the hook for judgments of $2.4 million to the Royal Bank of Canada and $1.1 million to Wachovia Bank, both because of loan defaults, and $4.5 million for a sports agent who sued him and won.
Meanwhile, his monthly bills are piling up: his mother Brenda Boddie’s $4,700 mortgage; more than $2,000 in car payments for her Cadillac XLR and Escalade; a $2,500 mortgage for fiancee Kijafa Frink and their two children; $1,160 for Frink’s Range Rover; a $781 payment for his sister’s Yukon Denali; $3,500 in monthly support for his young son and the boy’s mother.
Fortunately for Vick, the Land Rover he gave brother Marcus is paid in full. So is the $65,000 Infiniti sport utility vehicle parked near Leavenworth for Frink’s use during her twice-monthly visits. Vick sold his Bentley for $105,000 and used the money to buy a Mercedes-Benz.
His real estate holdings include the homes in Suffolk and Hampton in Virginia where his mother and fiancee live, respectively, and vacant houses in Williamsburg and Duluth, Ga. Construction continues on a $2 million home in Suffolk where he and his fiancee plan to eventually live. Already sold is the 4,600-square-foot house on 15 acres in Surry County that served as headquarters for the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting operation.
Vick is scheduled to plead guilty to state dogfighting and animal cruelty charges Tuesday in a deal that calls for a suspended sentence and probation. The plea could clear the way for his entry into a halfway house for the last few months of his federal sentence before his expected release in July.
But he’ll still have to face a financial mess worsened by his entanglement in about 20 business ventures, from a rental car outlet to a liquor store. Vick plans to pay his creditors by returning to the NFL ó a goal that hinges on his reinstatement by the league’s commissioner.
Scores of large withdrawals, debits, wire transfers and cashier’s checks ó some for hundreds of thousands of dollars ó were made from various accounts over the last couple of years. In most cases there’s no indication of how the money was spent, but Vick has admitted financing the dogfighting operation and giving betting money to his associates.
Those associates include three co-defendants who also were sentenced to prison for their roles in the dogfighting ring. Vick paid $150,000 to each of their lawyers. As would be expected in such a high-profile case, the records also show millions of dollars for Vick’s defense and bankruptcy legal teams.
Charles W. Reamon Jr., the recipient of the Infiniti and the two boats, had easy access to the player’s money and tapped one account for more than $1.1 million between October 2006 and December 2007. Entry after entry lists “cash out” transactions ranging from $1,000 to more than $88,000.
Reamon, listed in court papers as Vick’s “personal assistant and friend,” is Vick’s partner in a Virginia horse farm where one of their two jointly owned yachts ó combined value about $225,000 ó is stored. But Reamon is now listed as one of several potential defendants in lawsuits Vick is considering filing, alleging mismanagement of his money.
Among the others are former financial advisers Mary Wong and David Talbot. Wong was recommended to Vick by his former teammate, Demorrio Williams. Vick’s lawyers now believe Wong owes him at least $625,000.
Vick later hired Talbot but fired him after he was charged with securities fraud in New Jersey. Talbot has returned an $80,000 Mercedes that Vick gave him as payment but still could face suit for “breach of fiduciary duty and conversion,” according to Vick’s financial disclosure statement.
“Mary Wong categorically denies that she has ever wrongfully taken one penny from Michael Vick,” said Wong’s attorney, James Mitchell of Omaha. Any suggestion to the contrary is “unbelievably outrageous,” he said.
Mitchell said Wong did not charge for her services. Wong already has accounted for some of the funds entrusted to her by Vick while holding power of attorney and is in the process of accounting for the rest, Mitchell said.
Reamon did not return a message left with a person who answered the phone listed in Charles Reamon’s name in Newport News, and efforts to locate Talbot were unsuccessful.
“There were a lot of people with his or her hands in the till,” one of Vick’s lawyers, Peter Ginsberg, said at a recent bankruptcy hearing.
Talbot also briefly possessed jewelry worth about $100,000 to $150,000 that Vick gave to his brother. The jewelry has since been returned to an Atlanta jewelry store because there is a dispute over ownership.
The bling included diamond stud earrings and a charm with the inscription: “World Is Mine.”
Associated Press Sports Writer Hank Kurz Jr. contributed to this report.