Michael Vick has paid down virtually all his debts even though he didn’t have to do so.
As you probably know, Michael Vick was found guilty of participating in a dog-fighting club. He was sentenced to Federal prison.
As a result of this drastic change in income, Vick ended up owing a lot of money. ESPN New York reports,
When Michael Vick filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2008, his only income came from mopping floors at 12 cents an hour in the early morning hours at Leavenworth prison.
Less than seven years later, Vick is weeks away from paying off the majority of the nearly $18 million he owed his creditors.
Since getting out of prison, where he served 548 days for taking part in an illegal dogfighting ring, Vick hasn’t fully returned to his former self on the field, showing only flashes of the player he was before his career and life were derailed. But his financial comeback, while less public, has been quite successful.
In the five-year period (2010 to 2014) in which he agreed to go on a restrictive budget to pay back his creditors, Vick earned more than $49 million during four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and one with the New York Jets.
Joseph Luzinski, a senior vice president at Development Specialists Inc., a management consultancy firm and the liquidating trustee in Vick’s bankruptcy, said that because of the amount of money Vick made, he has paid off more than $15 million (84.7 percent) of the $17.8 million he owed. Luzinski said there is still a real estate asset to be sold after Vick’s deal with his creditors ends Dec. 31, which could raise the amount he has repaid.
“What Michael did was the exception, not the rule,” Luzinski said. “He didn’t have to do this. The law allows you to skate by and pay your creditors 10 or 20 cents on the dollar, but he thought this was the right thing to do.”
Vick said he could have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 11, which he ultimately chose. The former would have meant most of his debts would have been forgiven.
“I didn’t want to stiff people who never stiffed me,” Vick said.
As you can hear in the video below, there is a possibility that Vick also thought this was the only way to play in the NFL again. But I don’t think there is any reason to doubt that Vick genuinely wanted to repay his debts. Even the commenter who raises the possibility says that he is sure that Vick has changed.
None of this means that cruelty to dogs is okay. I hope that Vicks has recalibrated his values in that area.
But while most people know it is wrong to mistreat dogs, it is all too common to mistreat one’s creditors.
Michael Vick did the right thing.