Former Duke University basketball star Christian Laettner was a great player — if despised by his rivals — but his money management skills are the equivalent of an air ball.
The Wall Street Journal reported today (sorry, the story is behind a paywall) that five creditors are trying to force Laettner into involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The creditors claim that Laettner owes them a total of $14 million.
The lawsuit was filed in the Middle District of North Carolina, which has courtrooms in Durham, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem. Documents field online show that all of the creditors are involved in real estate:
Randy Nietzsche of NSA-SP#3, LLC, in Minneapolis, claims he is owed $7.32 million;
Ernest Sims III, of Raleigh, $1.48 million;
Jonathan Stewart, of Raleigh, $3.62 million;
Park Lane, IBS, LLC, of Los Angeles, $236,192;
D&F DCU, of Newport News, Virginia, $1.382 million
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is more serious than Chapter 13, which allows a debtor to reorganize and file a repayment plan. Under Chapter 7, the bankruptcy trustee liquidates the debtor's non-exempt assets (the definition of which can vary from state to state) and pays off the creditors. A lien also can be placed on a debtor's property.
Even though Laettner earned a total of $61 million as an NBA player, his subsequent real estate deals, including the West Village development in downtown Durham, mired him in financial problems. In 2012, he was sued for $30 million by several of his pro colleagues, including Scottie Pippen. And in another complicated deal, he sued his own real estate company, Blue Devil Ventures, for $10 million.