Former Notre Dame and Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson was having financial difficulties when he committed suicide last Thursday.
Duerson had filed for personal bankruptcy in September in Florida, according to court documents. He listed $34.6 million in assets and $14.7 million in liabilities. However, nearly all of the assets were part of a judgment his food company had won in 2004 but had never collected.
Duerson's ex-wife, Alicia Duerson, said in a December court filing that Duerson owed her $70,000 and was concealing assets, according to the Chicago Tribune. His assets didn't list his two Super Bowl rings and a large bronze trophy for being named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 1987.
Duerson's body was found Thursday at his home in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. He reportedly died from a gunshot wound to the chest. Duerson's family has agreed to donate his brain to Boston University's medical school for its study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, the degenerative disease that has been linked to depression, dementia and occasionally suicide in former players, according to The New York Times.
Despite these financial woes, Duerson's lawyer was "shocked" to hear of his client's death.
"Things were looking good for his bankruptcy case," Zach Shelomith said, according to the Tribune. "He seemed extremely upbeat. I see clients with financial problems all the time who are in a lot worse shape than him. When I saw the news on TV, I was shocked."
The filing in U.S. bankruptcy court in the Southern District of Florida lists Duerson's other assets as a checking account with $846 and a 2002 Cadillac Escalade with 140,000 miles on it, valued at $5,750.
Besides his wife's claim, other creditors include:
• Northern Trust, which has a $213,790 mortgage on Duerson's Sunny Isles Beach property and a second lien for $233,392;
• the state of Wisconsin, which has a $47,315 tax claim;
• Associated Bank, which says it is owed $4 million from a 2006 debt;
• Bank of America, with claims of $23,149 in credit card purchases;
• Greenline Capital Partners, with a 2006 promissory note for $9 million; and
• Kenosha Area Business Alliance, which claims a debt of $573,502.
Filings were made in the bankruptcy case as recently as last week.
In the filing, Duerson listed his year-to-date income as $16,800.
An October filing says Duerson had a storage unit in Morton Grove, Ill., that he was struggling to unload. It contained a Chippendale desk, a bar and bar stools and a pool table.
"I can't begin to put a value to this stuff, as it has been impossible to sell any of it, and even difficult to give the stuff away!" Duerson said in a memo filed with the court that was obtained by the Tribune. And "no one wants to pick it up to sell," according to the memo.
Duerson even said he had his two sons' trumpets from when they were children.
"They are now 25 and 26 years old," Duerson noted in the memo, according to the newspaper. "At any rate, they can have everything in storage as I need to eliminate that $375-$400 a month ASAP! Thank you! DRD."
Duerson had invested millions in Duerson Foods and built a state-of-the-art meat processing plant in 2002, but the plant's opening was delayed in 2003 due to issues with the freezer supplier. Duerson ended up mortgaging his Highland Park, Ill., house to finance the project.
He eventually won a judgment against the freezer company in 2004 for $34 million, but the money was never paid, the Tribune reported, because the company filed for bankruptcy.