Michael Vick might have paid his debt to society, but he certainly hasn’t paid his debts. Vick, who filed for bankruptcy two years ago while still in prison, owes creditors $20 million from a plan that was approved by the court in August of last year, two weeks after he signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last night, from his home in Richmond, Va., Andrew Joel watched Vick lead the Eagles to a 59-28 blowout of the Washington Redskins, accounting for 413 yards of total offense and six touchdowns.
“I don’t think I’ll get all of my money back, but I now think I’m getting more than I originally thought,” Joel told CNBC.
Out of all the people who have interest in Michael Vick’s future, Joel is near the top of the list. You see, his company Joel Enterprises is owed $6 million from Vick.
Vick signed with Joel’s agency for marketing and contract work in January 2001 when he declared he’d leave Virginia Tech after his senior season. But things quickly soured, and by the time Vick was the clear No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft just months later, he had already switched agent allegiances to Octagon.
“I put together a great team for him,” Joel said. “I had Jim Kelly and his brother Dan working on marketing and the deals we were putting together were the same deals Octagon worked on for him six months later.”
Joel sued Vick for $45 million. Through mediation, Vick agreed to pay Joel $4.5 million, but that settlement happened as Vick was serving what became an 18-month prison sentence for running his dog fighting ring. Soon after, Vick filed for bankruptcy.
“I really didn’t know what his financial situation was when he was going into prison,” Joel said. “I know that a lot of players in the league tend to run through their money quickly.”
When he filed for bankruptcy, Joel sensed that the only way he’d get his money back is if Vick made a comeback. By the time the finalized bankruptcy was approved, Joel said the amount of money Vick owed him grew to $6 million.
“I knew he’d get his running game back, but the key question out of his incarceration was, does he still have the zip on the ball?” Joel said. “When I saw that the velocity he came back with was close to what he had before, I knew he could do this.”
Coming off last night’s game, Vick — who made $2 million in 2009 and has a base salary of $3.75 million this year — could score a big free agent deal that would allow Joel to see some of the money that is owed to him.
But Joel said Vick will have to make a lot of money for him to pick up the $6 million owed to him.
“I haven’t made a dime yet,” Joel said. “They told us that some money was coming, but that wouldn’t even start to pay off the expenses for us. The bankruptcy lawyers and the Atlanta Falcons are in line before me.”
Joel also said, as part of the court’s agreement, Vick gets to keep some of his salary. Only 10 percent of the first $750,000 that Vick earned was earmarked to go to creditors.
Joel said he’s rooting for Vick, not only because a good future is the only way Joel will get his money back.
“I’m happy for him,” said Joel, who has scaled back his commitment to his sports agency business. “He’s a nice guy as long as he gets away from the friends he used to be with. Whether he owes me money or not, I think he served his time. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s why they put erasers on pencils. Erase it and move on.”
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