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Friday, April 18, 2008

Even Pro basketball players can get Bankruptcy Relief

Here is an article that I stumbled upon to show that even pro ball players have bankruptcy issues....although, he brought this on himself...at least he is taking steps to cure the problem...read on..

From the Press Register

Woman in court in Caffey case

Mother of ex-NBA player's son accused of violating court order
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
By BRENDAN KIRBY
Staff Reporter

An Atlanta woman entitled to tens of thousands of dollars in child support from a former professional basketball player went to federal court in Mobile on Tuesday to battle a $40,000 judgment entered against her for violating the player's bankruptcy.

Tuesday's hearing repre sented the latest twist in a saga that has seen former Chicago Bulls power forward Jason Caffey -- who is from Mobile and was a star player for Da vidson High School -- go from admired millionaire athlete to an alleged deadbeat dad who claims he cannot make court-ordered payments to seven women who have had at least eight of his children.

Karen Russell, who has been fighting Caffey for years over payments for their 15-year-old son, did win a small victory in that Tuesday hearing.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Margaret A. Mahoney decided that Russell, who now lives in Atlanta, should be able to appeal the $40,000 order, even though the normal 10-day window for doing so has closed.

Earlier this year, Mahoney had ordered Russell to pay after determining that she violated a freeze on debt collection mandated by Caffey's bankruptcy.

Russell said outside the courtroom that she was stunned when she learned that Mahoney had entered the judgment against her.

"It's surprising to me that they would even allow him to file bankruptcy to get out of paying child support," she said.

Under federal law, a bankruptcy judge cannot wipe away Caffey's child support obligations. But all creditors -- including the mothers of his children -- are supposed to stop all efforts to collect their debts while Caffey works out a bankruptcy plan with the court.

Still to be resolved is Caffey's demand that Russell pay his attorneys' fees. Mahoney set a hearing next month for that matter and suggested that Russell might want to hold off on her appeal until a final decision is made then.

Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge Herschel T. Hamner Jr. found Caffey in contempt in July for not paying child support, and an arrest warrant was issued in August.

Caffey filed for bankruptcy protection that same month, yet Hamner issued the arrest warrant shortly afterward.

Mahoney ruled that Russell had a duty to put an end to the proceedings once the bankruptcy was filed. Not only did Russell not do so, the judge ruled, but she accepted money in October as part of a settlement Caffey's lawyer negotiated in order to get his client out of jail.

Russell, meanwhile, claims that she never knew about the bankruptcy order. She said an address where the notice was mailed is a Montgomery post office box that she set up to receive child support payments.

Lawyers who were representing Russell at the time have said they did not receive notice, either, despite testimony that Caffey's lawyers left phone messages and sent copies of the order by fax and e-mail.

Russell, who works for a chemical company, said she met Caffey when both attended the University of Alabama. They did not date exclusively or for very long, she said, but the relationship produced a son. She said she began having problems getting Caffey to pay within months of a child support order in 1995.

The only time Caffey regularly paid, Russell said, was when it was automatically deducted from his paycheck from the NBA. Court records put the child support debt at more than $82,000; Russell said it exceeds $100,000 when attorneys' fees are included.

Russell's lawyer, Penny Douglass Furr, said the $40,000 judgment against her client is separate from the money Caffey owes, meaning she could not simply deduct the amount.

"That's basically a year's salary for Karen."

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