Five creditors, who say that they are among those owed more than $14 million by former Duke star Christian Laettner, filed papers last week to try to get him to voluntarily file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Laettner has until July 19 to respond. If he doesn't pay the debt or make some negotiated arrangement, the creditors could take possession of his property for their benefit.
One of Laettner's lawyers, Hassan Zavareei, told ESPN.com on Wednesday that a recent payday of approximately $10 million to Laettner's real estate firm, Blue Devil Ventures, could potentially be directed to satisfy those creditors.
Laettner and former Duke teammate and roommate Brian Davis founded Blue Devil Ventures in 1995. In December 2005, the company bought seven buildings in Durham to start a downtown mixed use revitalization project. The project was expected to cost $160 million, but Blue Devil Ventures sold most of the project to two developers by 2013 before it was flipped this February for $187 million. They still had an interest worth about $10 million when the sale went through.
In the past, Laettner's real estate firm was ordered by the courts to pay back $3.7 million to former NFL defensive end Shawne Merriman for a property investment gone bad. Davis and Laettner also were ordered to pay former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen $2.5 million as a result of failure to repay a loan Pippen made to them in their futile attempt to buy the Memphis Grizzlies. The two also were forced to pay back former Duke player and current Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins in the amount of $671,309.
After leading Duke to two championships in 1991 and 1992, Laettner made $61.5 million in his NBA career. He was served with a notice of foreclosure on his house in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, in March of last year, and the house was sold in October, records show.