Christian Laettner has 14 million problems: Creditors try to force him into Chapter 7


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:

Download Laettner lawsuit

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. 

Bulls to DAP: Let's play two, as 2011 nostalgia game announced

It's been a good week or more of news for our beloved Durham Bulls.

First, there's the team's clinching of the International League's South Division pennant -- again, and guaranteeing the defending IL and national champions a slot in the playoffs and a back-to-back chance.

Return-to-dap Then, there's the Bulls' victory Sunday, clinching the all-time AAA win record for the franchise (84), and in sight of the 89 wins record set by the franchise in its Class A days back in 1962.

And Friday night saw the Bulls alum Dan Johnson hit a game-winning walk-off homer for parent club Tampa Bay as they sent the fifteen fans who could be bothered to show up at The Trop in St. Pete home winners. 

(C'mon, Tampa and St. Pete. You have arguably the best team in baseball and it takes the promise of a Vanilla Ice concert after the game -- seriously -- to turn out fans in numbers. Why don't we take the major league franchise and y'all can be demoted to AAA?)

But for this Durhamite, just maybe the best news of all came in a blog post from Capitol Broadcasting's sports group VP George Habel, noting that the team would return to historic Durham Athletic Park for a game this coming May.

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It's Bulls night at the historic DAP -- just maybe for the last time ever?

We here at BCR tend to be more weekend evening fans of the Bulls than weekday game aficionados, given all the hullabaloo that happens in a typical week at the office.

Dap_game_ticket But there's no way we were going to miss tonight's very special one-night-only return engagement to the historic Durham Athletic Park of everyone's favorite local AAA minor league baseball team.

Yes, tonight will see the Durham Bulls march back up Blackwell/Corcoran/Foster St. (three names in eight blocks? gotta love it) to their one-time home for a match against the Toledo Mud Hens.

We'd suspect it'll be the largest crowd in the DAP since it re-opened last summer after a $5 million-plus renovation paid for by the City.

Not that a stadium that hosts only a couple of thousand people is all that big. And we're sure the choice of a Monday night engagement -- surely an off-night for attendance for many fans as it has been me -- isn't accidental. 

Continue reading "It's Bulls night at the historic DAP -- just maybe for the last time ever?" »

Bulls get exposure on MLB Network

Count this as one of the more bizarre experiences of my short Bulls fandom.

So I come home to grab a quick bite for lunch today, noticing on my way out of American Tobacco's South Deck the significant number of cars queued up all along the streets around the ATC. "Huh," I tell myself, "it's got to be a day game over at the DBAP."

I make it home, heat up some lunch in the kitchen, and decide to throw the TV on for a few minutes while I'm eating before heading back to work. I figure I'll turn on the MLB Network, to check in and see what's happening in the majors. Maybe I'll catch a few minutes of the Rays-Jays series.

Instead, what should I see except... a shot of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park outfield. Hmm, must be a show about minor league baseball.

But -- there's a graphic on the screen that says "LIVE." And there's a Bulls game against the Gwinnett Braves, whom the Bulls are playing in a home-and-home series.

Yeah, apparently the Bulls-Braves game is being covered live on national cable TV.

Somehow, I went from being at work in the Strickland Bldg. unaware there was even a game on, to being at home watching the game taking place across from my office. And shortly I'll head back to work... where I'll again be blissfully unaware of any game taking place just across the street.

Kinda one of those little surreal moments, no?

Duke, Bulls to share a championship celebration evening Thu. night

This Thursday night's your chance to see not one, but two Durham national champions on the DBAP's field -- even if one of the two is more accustomed to basketball courts than baseball diamonds.

Duke_nc2010 The NCAA men's basketball champs from Duke and the Minor League Baseball AAA national champion Durham Bulls will share what's being called the Night of National Champions down at American Tobacco and the ballpark.

The men's basketball team will kick things off at 5:30pm beneath American Tobacco's Lucky Strike tower, with Coach K and the team's seniors making remarks to the assembled crowd. (No comments from the peanut gallery on how the last-second three-point miss by Butler would have been a "lucky strike" if it'd gone in -- since for those who aren't Carolina or State fans, it might've been.)

Bulls_champs09 At 6:30, Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo gets his Minor League Manager of the Year award; then, Duke seniors Jon Scheyer, Lance Thomas and Brian ("Zoooouuubb!") Zoubek throw out "ceremonial first pitches" to open the back end of the Bulls away-and-home series with the Norfolk Tides.

The whole Blue Devils team will make it out onto the field in the third inning to take a bow; the National Championship trophy will then be available for viewing afterwards on the DBAP's concourse.

Opening night at the DBAP is sponsored by the Durham Chamber of Commerce.

Duke-Durham relations to take a tumble if WVa. bests Duke in Final Four showdown?

OK, tongue's planted firmly in cheek in that headline. But one can't help but be amused by this particular intersection in town-gown relations.

To wit: Duke has made it back to the Final Four for the first time in a few years, with Coach K and a band of seniors on their way to what the Cameron Crazies hope will be a big victory to set even more bonfires blazing.

In their way this Saturday stands No. 2 seed West Virginia, which could well be the most dangerous opponent remaining for the Blue Devils in the tournament. (Two #5 seeds, Michigan State and Butler, face off for the other National Championship game berth.)

The Mountaineers have done well in the tournament to date despite lacking their star point guard Truck Bryant, who broke a foot in practice last week and was counted out as done for the season.

Well, perhaps not so fast. Bryant needed some special medical T.L.C. -- and where are you going to turn for that?

The City of Medicine, natch. Though it sounds like that special T.L.C. happened away from the Gothic Hospitaland that is Duke Medicine.

Continue reading "Duke-Durham relations to take a tumble if WVa. bests Duke in Final Four showdown?" »

BCR Rumor Mill: "Bull Durham" sequel inching closer to production?

Here's one to place firmly in the "rumor mill" category, and given the history of false starts here it's good to take this one with a big tablet of sale -- but hey, it's been a while since we've heard any news on this project.

A BCR source reports that Thom Mount's efforts to bring a Bull Durham sequel to life are moving forward, with a number of the original film's stars -- including its three leads -- reportedly signed on to be a part of the movie's sequel.

According to the report, funding is in place for the film with plans to film at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, along with a small number of scenes at the historic DAP.

Mount was spotted in town this week, reportedly meeting with local leaders in preparation for a broader ramp-up on the filming.

Lots of slips happen in Hollywood along the way to shooting a film -- much less releasing it. Mount himself, for instance, was initially closely-attached to "Main Street," which filmed in Durham last spring, having brought screenwriter Horton Foote to town to inspire the film's script. By the time of filming, though, Mount was no longer the "producer of record" for the film, "Main Street" (and onetime "Bull Durham") publicist David Linck hesitantly noted on our "Shooting the Bull" radio show back in April 2009.

Assuming that a Bull Durham sequel really is underway, there's no more word on what plotlines might follow the film. Though as a baseball fan first and a "Bull Durham" fan second, we here at BCR are more than partial to ESPN writer Jim Caple's Manny Ramirez-in-the-minors take on a sequel-spoof last year.

ESPN College GameDay arrives for Duke-UNC on Sat. 3/6

Given that Duke is favored to beat UNC badly enough next week as to have them qualify for demotion to Division II, it's quite fitting -- hometown hubris aside -- to have America's 24-hour sports net on West Campus next weekend.

Yes, there's visitors in town next Sat., March 6 -- and not just those of a Chapel Hillian variety:

Join ESPN's GameDay crew of Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis and legendary coach Bob Knight live in Cameron Indoor Stadium from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. and again from 8-9 p.m. in the Krzyzewskiville courtyard. ESPN College GameDay is open to the general public with the doors to Cameron Indoor Stadium opening at 9:30 a.m. Fans are encouraged to arrive early as SportsCenter will be producing live cut-ins to Cameron Indoor Stadium from 10-11 a.m.

Now, what's that ranking again? Oh, fifth-ranked Duke takes on (cough cough) unranked but much-rankled Carolina.

Tell your mom and dad back home they can watch you on the pre-game, and come out to campus to see the ESPN stars roll through town if you get the chance next weekend.

Bulls' National Championship celebration provides classy cap to '09 season

Scoreboard_vertical_intro Given the chilly weather of the past week or so, today's warm fall day couldn't have come at a better time for the Durham Bulls' public celebration of their twin International League and National Championship victories.

Mother Nature must be a baseball fan; there's no better way to describe the gorgeous, cloudless evening that greeted fans taking the field for tonight's two-hour celebration.

And "take the field" is no exaggeration; fans who braved the nearly hour-long queue to see the trophies found their patience rewarded by an experience few have ever had: a journey from the locker room through the labyrinthine hallways of the DBAP's belly and, from there, up the dugout stairs and onto the artificially-lit field.

Free hot dogs, chips and bottles of Gordon Biersch awaited fans in the ballpark, though most like me chose to spend a healthy amount of time lingering out in the outfield for a good bit of time before heading up to the concourse for food.

Check out the photos beyond the jump for a taste of what a beautiful ballpark looks like on a beautiful North Carolina night, and for a look at the championship trophies as well.

Continue reading "Bulls' National Championship celebration provides classy cap to '09 season" »

Bulls to celebrate championship wins with Oct. 21 fan night

Bulls_championship There was a bit of a geographical gap for hometown fans celebrating this year's twin wins by the Bulls -- recipients of the International League's Governors' Cup and the AAA National Championship -- as these victories were won by the Bulls out on the road, in Moosic, Pa. and in Oklahoma City, respectively.

And while ticker-tape parades aren't exactly the typical style for celebrating such victories, the Bulls are planning a one-night celebration later this month in which fans can get up close and personal with the championship trophies and such.

The Bulls have announced their National Championship Celebration, set for Wednesday, October 21 from 6-8pm at the DBAP downtown. Both trophies will be on-hand -- and the first 500 fans will get a chance to have their photos taken with them, in the Bulls' locker room no less.

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