The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics are Over, So Why Are Some Athletes Filing for Bankruptcy?

The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics are now, just recently, over. Many predicted the summer games would be surrounded by controversy, scandal, crime, and a myriad of other problems. Though we don’t have all the facts from the recently concluded games, it’s probably safe to say things went better than most of the critics and media expected. Certainly, there were hiccups and small, unforeseen issues that came up; however, most of the events went off without a hitch. And that’s good news for fans of the games, and for the country of Brazil too.

There were plenty of great storylines from the Olympic games, too – whether it was the first-ever appearance of the refugee team comprised of people who fled their war-torn countries, or a “rags to riches” story about an athlete that grew up in poverty in the American south.

Once the Olympics are over, though, most of us just forget about most of the athletes and many of the sports. How many people regularly follow competitive diving? What about professional table tennis? Except for the participants in main-stream sports like soccer and basketball, these athletes only get their “fifteen minutes of fame” for two weeks every four years.

So what happens to these champions after the games are over and they go home? As a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy in southeastern Wisconsin, we’d like to take a brief look at the financial implications being “the greatest in the world” bring with it.

For hyper-focused athletes, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to find out training is their job – they eat, sleep, and breathe their sport. In the case of basketball stars and soccer players, that is usually ok from a financial standpoint. They can join a professional league and be paid to play their sport and to train. But what if your sport is judo or canoeing? Athletes must spend their time training, sometimes at great expense, but with little chance to cash in on their status as “greatest in the world.”

It’s true that winning a gold medal brings along with it prize money. Some countries reward their athletes quite handsomely for winning the top prize in their respective sports. Taiwan, for example, pays almost one million dollars for a gold medal at the Olympics. Most countries, however, pay much less. The U.S. Olympic Committee, for example, pays $25,000 in prize money for an Olympic gold.* Certainly, this isn’t chump change. However, if this is really your only chance to make money on your sport, you can see how a mere $25,000 every four years won’t go very far. Because this is considered “prize” money, Uncle Sam takes his fair share too, leaving a U.S. Olympic gold medal-winning athlete with more like $15,000 for his or her efforts.

So…it’s not hard to see that, for some athletes, their passion and dedication to their respective sports can leave them in a tough financial position. It’s not surprising then that many athletes in some of the lesser-known sports find themselves filing for bankruptcy. While we all like the “feel good” stories that air during the Olympics, the coverage doesn’t always emphasize just how tough on family life or financial life being an elite athlete can be.

It’s good for us all to remember even the “greatest athletes in the world” also face financial hardships. When dealing with financial issues, it’s important to understand people in many different walks of life face these issues, for many different reasons. The reasons for bankruptcy are as diverse as the people filing.

If you’re facing financial hardship and need advice about the best way to protect yourself, your family, and your future, contact the Milwaukee Bankruptcy attorneys at Burr Law Office LLC. We are always here to help and want to help put you in the best position possible to succeed in your finances.

Presidential Bankruptcy?

Whether you love him or hate him, Donald Trump has certainly garnered a lot of attention these days. His outspoken approach to campaigning for the presidency has captured the attention of the media all over the place, and he’s getting more than his fair share of attention in the national spotlight.

“The Donald” frequently cites his great success in the world of business and real estate as being the strongest qualifier for his presidential bid. As someone who has estimated his own self-worth at around ten billion dollars, it would be hard to argue that he hasn’t been, at the very least, financially successful.

But as his opponents are quick to point out, Donald Trump–or at least his companies–have filed for bankruptcy on four different occasions. If you are asking yourself, “How can a man who claims to be worth ten billion dollars have filed for bankruptcy—and four times at that?” you aren’t alone. Many have wondered the same thing as they, unfortunately, associate bankruptcy with complete financial ruin. That notion, however, is a complete misconception, and Donald Trump’s story proves it.

To make a long story short, Trump-branded companies have filed for bankruptcy in 1991, 1992, 2004, 2009. Donald Trump himself points to a large variety of circumstances—some that were out of his control–as the reason for these filings. In the 1991 case, for example, his brand-new Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City was buried under a mountain of debt following its one-billion-dollar price tag that was paid with high-interest bonds. The massive cost of building the casino wasn’t un-calculated, though. Trump figured his investment was a good one because of the massive popularity of the gambling and night-life scene in Atlantic City at the time.

But the investment didn’t pan out the way Trump intended. A slumping economy left Americans with little disposable income, and places like Atlantic City saw a huge decline in visitor traffic. Because of the high-interest bonds used to build the Taj Mahal, Trump soon found his one billion dollar project to now be a 3.4 billion dollar liability.

Though he had taken steps to legally separate his own fortune from the business entity associated with the Taj Mahal, Trump’s court proceedings regarding his debt still took quite a big toll on him personally, and he lost quite a bit of his own fortune as a result. As part of the settlement, his creditors were even allowed some control over his personal spending habits, and that was certainly a blow to his ego. He even had to sell his prized yacht and an airplane to satisfy some of the demands of his settlement.

The Taj Mahal story is just one example, and the specifics of his other three filings are well documented and can be easily found by anyone who is interested.

When asked about his bankruptcies in 2011 by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Trump simply said, “I’ve used the laws of this country to pare debt…” Though Trump’s statement may seem insignificant, there is a lot of truth in what he said. Bankruptcy laws are just that—laws—and they are to be used to protect the financial well-being of the people of this country.

To be sure, the circumstances surrounding Donald Trump’s filings were unique to his situation, and the type of protection he sought was specific to the businesses he ran. But the lesson we can learn from his situation is an important one. Bankruptcy laws are in place for a reason, and when used properly and competently, they can be a very important tool in protecting the future of Americans in all walks of life.

Though the financial troubles of most of us don’t even compare (dollar-wise) to the problems multi-billionaires may face, they can feel just as big in our own lives and take on just as large a toll on us and our families. The good news is that there is hope are there are laws in place to protect us. The attorneys at Burr Law Office are skilled Milwaukee lawyers who know the law and know how to help. Take advantage of your rights under the law by seeking counsel from us.

Famed Celebrity Bankruptcies

Celebrities…they’re just like us. Bankruptcy isn’t something only “common people” deal with. More often than you may think, celebrities and public figures find themselves in financial trouble. These situations are often due to poor money management, miscommunication, or irresponsible spending. With expert Milwaukee legal aid from Burr Law Office, you can work to fix your financial issues. Here are a few names you may recognize and a bit about each of their filings.

M.C. Hammer

You probably know Hammer as the artist that graced us with the dance hit “Can’t Touch This” in the early 90s. His quick rise to fame meant his net worth sky rocketed; Forbes once estimated Hammer to have a net worth of approximately $33 million. Unfortunately, a lavish lifestyle and allegedly large staff brought massive debt, reportedly $13 million, and in 1996 Hammer filed for bankruptcy.

Larry King

Host of Larry King Live on CNN, King found himself in financial difficulty in the mid 70s. A former business partner publicly accused him of grand larceny, brining $352,000 worth of debt. King filed for bankruptcy in 1978 – the same year he was offered the Larry King Live show.

Wayne Newton

The 1983 Guinness Book of World Records holder of the “highest paid entertainer” title, Wayne Newton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1992. Due to a slew of bad investments, Newtown amassed nearly $20 million dollars of debt.

Long story short, even the rich and famous deal with money problems – though they may be on a different scale. Get expert legal aid from Burr Law Office to help guide you down the path of financial freedom. Call us at 262.827.0375 to schedule your free consultation.

Celebrities Who Have Filed for Bankruptcy

What do Willie Nelson, MC Hammer, and Toni Braxton all have in common? While they have all been successful recording artists during their careers, the similarities don’t end there: all three of these celebrities have filed for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can happen to anyone, no matter how much money he or she has made.

If you are struggling to get out of debt, the best idea is to contact your Milwaukee bankruptcy attorney to find out if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for you. You’ll be in good company—famous singer Dionne Warwick just filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy earlier this year, citing $10 million in debt. Check out this infographic for a look at six celebrities who have found themselves in dire financial straits. Feel free to share with your friends and family. Contact Burr Law Office with your Milwaukee bankruptcy case in your time of need.

Biggest Bankruptcies in U.S. History

When you are struggling to pay your debts, it affects every aspect of your life. Many people wonder how they will pay bills next month, buy groceries, or send their kids to college. As bad as your financial situation may seem, the following examples of some of the biggest bankruptcy filings in U.S. history may make you feel a bit better.

Clint Murchison Jr.

One of the largest personal filings actually occurred nearly 30 years ago. The median household income in 1985 was $23,620, but Clint Murchison Jr. had more than $70 million in assets. In spite of all this wealth, his debts totaled about $400 million, which forced him to file for personal bankruptcy. Murchison was a co-owner of the Dallas Cowboys at one point and listed nearly 300 creditors in his filing.

Stockton, California

In 2012, Stockton, California, became the largest city to file for bankruptcy in the history of the United States. The city, home to 300,000 people, filed for Chapter 9 protection when it was facing an insurmountable $26 million budget deficit.

Lehman Brothers

There have been some incredibly large businesses that have declared bankruptcy, especially in recent years. These companies range from financial institutions to car manufacturers. However, Lehman Brothers topped the list of the biggest bankruptcies when it filed Chapter 11 in September 2008. The company was valued at $691 billion at the time, and when the government declined to bail out the investment bank, its assets were liquidated.

Your debts likely are not nearly as extensive as any of these individuals or businesses, but bankruptcy may still be the best debt relief option for you. To speak with a Milwaukee bankruptcy attorney, call the Burr Law Office at (877) 891-1638. We provide affordable services that will offer you financial relief.