Borgata Wants $170,000 in Unpaid Debts from Former NFL Star Clinton Portis

Borgata Wants $170,000 in Unpaid Debts from Former NFL Star Clinton Portis
Clinton Portis earned $43 million in his NFL career, but lost millions on a bad investment in an Alabama casino.

Former Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis wrote hot checks to pay off $170,000 in debts to the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. The sports website Deadspin obtained a court document showing Borgata had filed against Portis, claiming the checks he wrote had bounced.

Clinton Portis is undergoing a bankruptcy case. Deadspin reports that Portis is trying to have his Borgata debt discharged in bankruptcy court. Borgata is fighting that motion. New Jersey is a state which supports its casino operations, so Borgata typically has its debts repaid.

$5 Million Owed to Creditors

A.J. Perez of USA Today reported that Clinton Portis owes $5 million to various creditors. Gambling at the Borgata is the least of the former Pro Bowlers’ financial troubles. In fact, the gaming debts are not even the biggest casino troubles Clinton Portis faces.

In 2012, Clinton Portis was one of several NFL players who took major financial hits in the Center Stage venture in Cottonwood, Alabama. Resorts Development Group, which owned Center Stage, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy that year while holding $68 million in debts.

5 Players in a Casino Deal

At the time, five different current or former NFL players filed bankrupcty claims against Resorts Development Group: Terrell Owens, Duane Starks, Mike Peterson, Roscoe Parrish, and Clinton Portis. The lawsuits were filed in Alabama and Florida, hoping to seek recompensation from the bankrupt company. As in most cases, the debts were canceled in bankruptcy.

Clinton Portis indicates that Resorts Development Group bankruptcy is why he filed bankruptcy himself. Clinton Yates of the Washington Post reported a conversation Clinton Portis had on ESPN Radio 980. In the interview, the former NFL star running back spoke about his financial troubles.

Clinton Portis on Center Stage Investment

About the investment in Center Stage, Clinton Portis said, “The casino investment came out when T.O. first came out and told you about the casino. It’s the same casino that everyone was in. Floyd Mayweather, Jamie Foxx, Terrell Owens, the list goes on of guys that were involved in this.”

The former NFL player added, “This is the regret, that Jeff Rubin of Pro Sports is the guy behind all of this. No one mentions Jeff Rubin, who’s the financial adviser….He should be in jail. We’re talking about someone owing a couple million dollars, but this man has run off with $100M.

Non-Dischargable Debts at the Borgata

The Borgata is not buying the story. Their lawsuit claims Clinton Portis knew he did not have the money to repay them when he borrowed $200,000 from them. According to Barry Petchesky of Deadspin, the suit against Portis alleges that the running back “knew he did not have the money to repay his debts when he received the line of credit.”

If Borgata can prove Portis knew he didn’t have such money, then the debts would be non-dischargeable. The reason is the transaction would be, according to Petchesky, under “false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud.

Clinton Portis’s Original Net Worth

Clinton Portis made an estimated $43 million during his 9-year NFL career. He rushed for 1,000 in 6 of his first 7 NFL seasons, but played in only 13 games his last two NFL campaigns, due to injuries. His last season was in 2010, when he retired due to the accumulation of injuries.

The list of NFL players who’ve declared bankruptcy seems endless. One report suggested that 78% of NFL players eventually end up broke. ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary program had a documentary on the subject called “Broke”.

The Business Side of the NFL

NFL fans are not likely to sympathize. They pay premium money for NFL game tickets, while supporting their teams and players with brisk merchandise sales. Their loyal TV viewership and patronage of media outlets which cover NFL news fuels the revenues of the US’s biggest sports. With their own workaday lives, they are not likely to have a lot of sympathy for an NFL player who received $43 million, then lost it through bad investments, big expenses, and gambling.

At the same time, fans often criticize NFL players when they hold out for a new contract. NFL contracts are different than NBA and MLB contracts — a team can waive a player at any time. Besides whatever bonus money they made, the team simply ends the business relationships and might say a good a few fine words in a press release. It is a one-sided deal in which players must play by the terms of their contract. They have a short 5 to 10 year time span to max out their pay, so many seek to maximize their profitability with a contract holdout.

Even if one assumes Clinton Portis collected $20 million to $25 million after taxes and fees, few fans are likely to show sympathy in this case. Few are likely to show the Borgata much sympathy, either.

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