By: Marshall G. Reissman Bankruptcy Attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida at The Reissman Law Group, P.A.
Professional athletes filing bankruptcy have been in the news over the years including Mike Tyson, Sheryl Swoopes, and Lawrence Taylor. It may shock some people that professional athletes, who made millions during their careers, face the same kind of financial troubles that middle class Americans find themselves in. One of the latest professional athletes to file bankruptcy is Warren Sapp, formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Unfortunately, professional athletes are not immune from the problems regular people face, they just have a few more zeros at the end of their bills. Whether it is over-spending, bad investments, or a victim of the recent real estate bubble, professional athletes are subject to the same types of financial problems. Another possible reason for filing bankruptcy is to stop pending litigation or to stop a garnishment. Read a post about bankruptcy and garnishment here.
Recently, I had the opportunity to look over Warren Sapp’s bankruptcy petition and schedules at the request of a local reporter. The question the reporter had was the question most people had, why did Warren Sapp file Chapter 7 bankruptcy? At first look, it may be hard to understand. Many of the larger debts owed by Warren Sapp would appear to be non-dischargeable including taxes owed to the IRS and domestic support obligations to a former spouse and minor children. So why now? When I looked over the Statement of Financial Affairs “why now” become apparent to me.
One of Warren Sapp’s creditors, PNC Bank, who Mr. Sapp listed a debt totaling over $800,000.00, held a judgment against Warren Sapp and the creditor executed a Writ of Garnishment. Warren Sapp stated that PNC bank garnished more than $130,000.00, in December, 2011. One way to stop a garnishment is to file bankruptcy. Our clients face garnishment of their wages and bank accounts on a regular basis, and if appropriate, we will file bankruptcy on their behalf to stop the garnishment and discharge the underlying debt. Again, Warren Sapp just had a few more zeros at the end of his garnishment than most of our clients, but it still has the same effect.
Please check back for information regarding Warren Sapp’s bankruptcy. I will be following his case and providing my thoughts on what happens.