July 9, 2008 2:53 PM
Michael Vick Taps Crowell & Moring for Bankruptcy Filing
Posted by Brian Baxter
A speedster when starring in the National Football League, Michael Vick can't seem to outrun his legal--and financial--problems.
Vick--currently serving a 23-month prison sentence in Leavenworth, Kan., after pleading guilty to federal dogfighting charges last year--filed for bankruptcy on Monday in the Eastern District of Virginia.
New York-based litigation partner Peter Ginsberg and bankruptcy partner Mark Lichtenstein are lead counsel for Vick. Norfolk-based partners Paul Campsen and Dennis Lewandowski of Kaufman & Canoles are serving as local counsel.
On the Hook
Vick cites debts of $10-$50 million and a comparable amount of assets, according to the bankruptcy filing. The 28-year-old Newport News, Va., native is disputing a $3.75 million debt to his former team. In February, a federal district court judge ruled that Vick could keep $16 million of the $20 million in bonuses he received from the team, but that Vick is responsible for returning $3.75 million to the Falcons. (King & Spalding litigation partner Phyllis Sumner, a lawyer for the team, declined to comment.)
Other creditors with claims against Vick include sports agent Andrew Joel's Joel Enterprises, which sued Vick in 2006 for allegedly breaching an endorsement contract. Represented by Hunton & Williams litigation partners Hill Wellford, Jr., and Arthur Schmalz, Joel claims Vick owes his company $4.5 million. (Neither Wellford nor Schmalz returned calls requesting comment.)
Two banks--Wachovia and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)--also have multimillion-dollar claims against Vick stemming from court victories in May. That month, a federal district court in Atlanta ruled that Vick must repay $1.1 million to Wachovia for defaulting on a loan to open a liquor store and adjacent restaurant. That decision came less than a week after U.S. magistrate judge F. Bradford Stillman in Newport News ruled that Vick must repay the RBC $2.4 million for defaulting on yet another loan.
Another creditor, albeit not one of the largest, is one of the lawyers that comprised Vick's all-star legal team last year. Lawrence Woodard, Jr., a partner at Virginia Beach's Shuttleworth, Ruloff, Swain, Haddad & Morecock, is named on an attached list of creditors. (Woodard did not respond to a request for comment.)
According to bankruptcy fee filings, Crowell & Moring charged Vick a retainer of $280,000, and Ginsberg is billing $500 per hour--a reduced rate from his normal $665 an hour fee. Lichtenstein's rate is $495 per hour. C&M associates Noah Bloomberg and Vivian Arias are billing at $330 and $225 an hour, respectively. (Ginsberg was traveling and unavailable for comment; Lichtenstein declined to comment.)
Kaufman & Canoles's Campsen is billing $375 per hour, while his partner Lewandowski bills at an hourly rate of $350. The Virginia firm is serving as lead counsel in Vick's dealings with Wachovia while C&M seeks a waiver to resolve a potential conflict, say Chapter 11 court filings.
Vick, who signed a 10-year $130 million contract with the Falcons in 2004, is scheduled to be released from prison in July 2009.Make a comment