Thanks to the PilotOnline.com for this update.
Feds want nearly $1 million from Vick for dogs’ care
By DAVE FORSTER, The Virginian-Pilot
November 20, 2007 | Last updated 1:33 PM Nov. 21
Federal prosecutors want nearly $1 million in restitution from Michael Vick for the care of his former pit bulls.
In court papers filed Tuesday, they expressed concern about the NFL quarterback’s ability to pay amid his mounting financial troubles.
Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson to order Vick to keep at least enough money to repay the government for the care and placement of about 50 pit bulls seized in April from the Newport News native’s dogfighting operation in Surry County.
Restitution is estimated at $928,000, a figure that could rise or fall by the time Vick is sentenced Dec. 10, according to the prosecutor’s motion.
The document didn’t detail how prosecutors reached that amount, but it said Vick’s attorneys have been given an accounting of the costs. One of his lead attorneys, Billy Martin, declined to comment Tuesday.
In the motion, the U.S. Attorney’s Office named four entities seeking to recover millions from Vick, who once signed the richest contract in NFL history with the Atlanta Falcons. He now faces an uncertain future in football since the NFL suspended him indefinitely without pay.
An arbitrator ruled the Falcons can recover nearly $20 million in bonus money from Vick, and three banks are seeking a total of about $5 million on allegations of defaulted loans, the document says.
“While the government is not familiar with the merits of these pending matters, the fact that these lawsuits and the arbitration proceeding have been filed suggests that demands for payment by Vick have gone unheeded,” the prosecutors wrote.
They also noted that Vick is selling his suburban Atlanta home, listed at $4.5 million.
“The current events outlined above regarding Vick’s deteriorating financial condition demonstrate the validity of the government’s concern about the defendant’s ability to fulfill his legal obligation by the time he is sentenced on December 10, 2007,” the motion continued.
Vick pleaded guilty in August to conspiring to run an interstate dogfighting venture with three other men, beginning in 2001. His three co-defendants also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Vick turned himself in Monday to begin serving whatever sentence he will receive Dec. 10. The sentencing guidelines he accepted in his plea agreement suggest that prosecutors will recommend a term of one year to 18 months.
The plea agreement also requires him to pay all costs associated with the 53 pit bulls taken from his property. Some dogs died in custody, one was returned to its owner and one was euthanized because of aggression, leaving 48 dogs. A court-appointed guardian is reviewing applications from animal rescue groups to decide where to place the remaining pit bulls, some of which could eventually be adopted by families.
It wasn’t clear from the prosecutors’ motion Tuesday how much of the nearly $1 million in estimated costs is related to the future care of the dogs.
Animal rescue advocates were not surprised by the figure sought by prosecutors.