Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Baller Status (or Not) of Mike Vick

So a couple weeks ago we had the first real live Michael Vick sighting in a long time when he had to show up in Virginia state court to plead guilty to another set of those pesky dogfighting charges. Not sure if everyone heard about it, but it was in the news.

Those pesky pitbulls sure bite back hard.

Now the latest rage concerning the man who used to be a roller coaster (at least in Nike commercials) is to talk about his ongoing bancruptcy proceedings. It has been all the rage lately to report on the fact that Mike Vick bought one of his baby's mama a brand new Mercedes the day he went to prison in Kansas. The reason for the purchase ... so she would have a kick ass ride to go visit him with on those conjugal visits.

Well if this past weekend, Vick's hometown paper (sort of), the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote a ginormous article detailing exactly what and how much MIchael Vick has spent in the past few years, and most notably the past few months before starting his jail term. Let's just say if a visitor from another planet only saw the bank statements of Michael Vick, they would have no idea there's a recession. I've tried to come up with an adjective to describe what I'm about to quote from the story and all I could come up with was ridiculously absurd ... and I just don't think that does it justice.

The day he went to jail, Michael Vick bought a $99,000 Mercedes. He cashed four checks that totaled $24,900. He gave $28,000 to the mother of his oldest child. He paid a public relations firm $23,000 and gave a friend $16,000. Altogether on Nov. 19, 2007, Vick spent $201,840. ... The day’s spending, in fact, was but a small part of the $18.2 million that flew out of Vick’s hands from 2006 to 2008

That was literally the lede (no I didn't spell that wrong for you non-journalism folk) to the story. But before I go on, I should mention this all became available because Vick is filing for bancruptcy with all these pesky creditors after him.

For his own expenses, Vick seems to have relied heavily on cash. In 2007, documents show, he used cashier’s checks to withdraw $908,500 from his bank accounts. During a two-year period, he wrote checks payable to “cash” totaling almost $1.1 million. His spending escalated as his prison sentence neared. From Aug. 27, 2007, the day he pleaded guilty in a Richmond federal courthouse, until Nov. 19, the day he bought the new Mercedes before reporting to jail, Vick shelled out $3,627,291.

Now that we've got the staggering money totals of this man's life, let's go with a blow-by-blow account of just what he spent all this chump change on:

1) A $918,000 mini-mansion behind the gates that guard the Sugarloaf Country Club in Duluth, GA.
2) Two Years Later: upgraded to a larger house in the same neighborhood, for almost $3.8 million. Among his improvements to that property: a movie screening room and a golf simulator.
3) Bought four more houses, all in Virginia, and began building another.
4) He bought a condominium in Miami Beach.
5) He bought interests in two farms — one in Virginia, one in Rockdale County, east of Atlanta.
6) He bought six Paso Fino horses, worth about $450,000.
7) He bought two boats, one for $100,000, the other for $125,000.
8) He bought cars: a Bentley, two Land Rovers, Cadillacs, an Infiniti sport utility vehicle and an Infiniti sedan, two Ford pickup trucks, a Dodge, a Chevrolet, the $99,000 Mercedes.
9) He bought as much as $450,000 in jewelry.
10) MORE CARS: "In 2006, for instance, he bought his sister, Christina, a GMC Yukon. The next year, he gave a Lincoln Navigator to Tameka Taylor, the mother of his first child. The mother of Vick’s other two children, Kijafa Frink, got a Land Rover; her mother, a Cadillac Escalade."
11) Baby's Mama Expenses: He paid Frink’s mortgage and gave her $1,000 a month for clothes, court records say, and $300 for “beauty-related expenses.” He supported Taylor and their son with $3,500 a month.
12) Mama Expenses: For his mother, Brenda Boddie, Vick covered a $4,700-a-month mortgage and $2,100 in payments for her two Cadillacs.
13) In 2005, created a management and marketing company, MV7 LLC. It provided income for at least two family members, according to public records: Vick’s mother, whose salary approached $100,000 a year, and his sister, who earned about $22,000. The firm even had a retirement fund.
14) During his last weeks of freedom, though, Vick also spent $85,000 on a fish pond and $48,257 for landscaping. He bought a $31,000 Ford pickup and a $33,100 Chevrolet.
15) In the weeks before he went to jail, Vick made 48 cash withdrawals for a total of $325,945. The largest was on Sept. 19, for about $67,000. Using three cashier’s checks, he withdrew an additional $90,000.

That doesn't even begin to account for numeorus failed business ventures, including the infamous dog kennels that put him in jail in the first place, a failed charitable foundation that only spent 12 percent of its budget on actual charity stuff, and a horse farm that was auctioned off after Vick decided not to pay property tax on it.

Now, because he has applied for bancruptcy he is allowed to keep ownership of one house; he chose his mother’s home in Suffolk, Va. He also is keeping $136,500 of home furnishings, $5,000 of clothes and a retirement account with a balance of $96.63. Oh yeah, once he gets out of prison the IRS says he owes $1.2 million in back taxes.

Like I said, the phrase "ridiculously absurd" doesn't really do this man justice. The talk now surrounds if he'll ever be able to make a substantial amount of money playing football ever again. See, once he gets out of prison, the guess here, there and everywhere is that Vick will likely get another year off from the NFL thanks to Fidel Goodell's personal conduct rules. That leaves Vick with the option of playing in the CFL, the Arena League, or (if you haven't heard yet) the Mark Cuban-led UFL, which is slated to begin play next fall. Here's an interesting factoid about Vick's status in that league thanks to Peter King of SI.com:

· The week after the NFL season ends in February, the league will hold an online poll of fans, asking if they think the league should pursue Michael Vick to play for one of its teams in 2009. If the vote is yes, the UFL will try to sign Vick to play -- presumably while he is under suspension for a year by the NFL after leaving prison on his dogfighting conviction.

Baller status no more.

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