Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick made the final $1.5 million payment to creditors on Thursday, meaning he paid back $17.4 million of the $17.6 million that he owed when he filed for bankruptcy in July 2008.
The payment and final payouts were confirmed by Joseph Luzinski, a senior vice president at Development Specialists Inc., a management consultancy firm and the liquidating trustee in Vick’s bankruptcy.
“Paying 99 cents on the dollar, which he did, is remarkable,” Luzinski said. “It happens in, maybe, one out of 100 cases.”
Vick elected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 7, which would have allowed him to liquidate his assets and not owe any more. Vick, who served 548 days in jail for taking part in an illegal dogfighting ring, took the rare step of kicking in future income to pay off his creditors.
“I didn’t want to stiff people who never stiffed me,” Vick told ESPN in 2014.
In the five-year period from 2010 to 2014 in which he agreed to go on a restrictive budget to pay back his creditors, Vick earned nearly $50 million during four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and one with the New York Jets. Vick played his final games in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Steelers and now works for Fox Sports as a studio analyst for its NFL coverage.
All the creditors were made almost completely whole by Vick, although the Atlanta Falcons, which gave him a retirement ceremony this year, lost out on their big bet.
The Falcons were owed $6.5 million from Vick in a salary settlement negotiated in 2009. Less than two years later, the Falcons sold that liability to Fortress Capital, the investment firm co-founded by Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens.
What Fortress paid in hopes of getting the $6.5 million back is unclear, as the documentation of the transaction submitted to the court doesn’t disclose the amount. But Luzinski said it is assumed they bought it at a significant discount.
“That was like playing the lottery,” Vick told ESPN three years ago, when he had paid off 85 percent of the debt. “They didn’t know if I was going to fully come back, and if you were to ask me, I would have done the same thing. But that’s just how God worked in this situation.”