The Associated Press
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Creditors who are owed a total of more than $20 million have endorsed Michael Vick's plan to pay them back and emerge from bankruptcy, according to a court filing.
In balloting, secured and unsecured creditors overwhelmingly approved a reorganization plan by Vick, who is due in Newport News on Thursday to seek a judge's approval of the plan before returning to Philadelphia to make his debut with the Eagles in an NFL preseason game.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court appearance before Judge Frank Santoro will be the first since Vick was picked up by Philadelphia. His ability to repay the debt will be critical to Santoro's decision on the reorganization plan.
Creditors ranging from banks holding mortgages on Vick houses to his former team, the Atlanta Falcons, endorsed Vick's plan to repay them based on future earnings and the sales of assets, including houses, cars and investments. Debtors representing $132,743 rejected the plan.
The results of the voting were filed this week in the Newport News courtroom.
Vick was released from federal custody July 20 after serving 18 months of a 23-month sentence for his role in running a dogfighting ring. He signed a one-year, $1.6 million contract with the Eagles, who hold a $5.2 million option for a second season.
A payment plan outlined before Vick's signing with the Eagles would give creditors 10 percent of the first $750,000 a year Vick earns. He would be allowed to keep one house in Virginia, a luxury SUV and other possessions under the plan.
The creditors have previously signaled their support of Vick's repayment plan, though Santoro had expressed skepticism of Vick's ability to repay his debt before he was signed by the Eagles.
A lawyer representing one group of creditors on Wednesday called Vick's signing "a hugedevelopment in the case."
"I think the court is going to independently consider, as it must in every case whether you're a pipefitter or an NFL player or a GM, whether the plan is feasible," said Ross Reeves, attorney for a committee representing Vick's unsecured creditors.
"It's really whether or not Mike Vick can afford to pay and rehabilitate himself financially," Reeves said.
Vick is eligible to play the final two preseason games, but not in the regular season. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by no later than Week 6, in mid-October.
Vick's attorneys did not immediately return telephone and e-mail messages left by The Associated Press.
Besides his creditors, Vick ultimately will face legal bills approaching $2 million for his bankruptcy team.