Monday, January 26, 2009
Lawsuit seeks at least $2 million
RICHMOND, Va. -- Imprisoned NFL star Michael Vick is suing a former financial adviser for at least $2 million, claiming she used his money for her personal and business expenses.
The lawsuit accuses Mary Wong of Omaha, Neb., of fraud, breach of contract, negligence and other offenses. Vick, who is serving 23 months in the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kan., for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy, demanded a jury trial in the civil suit filed late last week in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.
Wong's attorney, James Mitchell of Omaha, did not immediately return a phone call Monday seeking comment. However, he told the Associated Press in an interview in November that Wong "categorically denies that she has ever wrongfully taken one penny from Michael Vick."
The lawsuit also names Williams and Bullocks, a company Wong co-owns with three NFL players: Demorrio Williams of the Kansas City Chiefs and twins Josh Bullocks of the New Orleans Saints and Daniel Bullocks of the Detroit Lions.
According to the complaint, Wong persuaded Vick to give her power of attorney, putting her in control of his finances, but did not disclose that she had been sanctioned by the New York Stock Exchange for depositing a customer's money into her personal bank account.
The lawsuit also alleges Wong transferred to Williams and the Bullocks $650,000 from Vick's bank accounts and $175,000 from the sale of Georgia income tax credits owned by Vick. Also, a $200,000 transfer from a Vick pension plan account could subject Vick to financial penalties, the complaint says.
Vick estimates that those actions, along with the lost value of investments during Wong's year as power of attorney, cost him at least $2 million. Along with compensatory damages, Vick is seeking unspecified punitive damages.
In July, Vick filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, claiming assets of $16 million and liabilities of $20.4 million. Papers filed in that case reflect shoddy financial management by the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback -- millions in lavish or unexplained spending and questionable business investments.
Vick, once the highest paid NFL star and among the league's most popular players, has said in court papers that he expects to resume his pro football career after his expected release from prison this summer. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, however, has not indicated whether he will lift Vick's suspension.