Columbus, Ohio — Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson has filed for bankruptcy while earning millions under a $30.5 million contract in his ninth NHL season.
In federal court records, the 27-year-old former Michigan player said his finances have fallen apart under his parents' management. He said creditors and his financial advisers took advantage of him through fraudulent transactions and predatory lending, pledging his contract earnings as security for unconventional loans that he didn't authorize and that had exorbitant interest rates.
Johnson filed for bankruptcy Oct. 7, two days before the team began the regular season. Those filings indicated he owed more than $12 million. For estimated assets, he checked the box indicating $1 million to $10 million.
Johnson, who was traded to the Blue Jackets by the Los Angeles Kings in 2012, told the Columbus Dispatch he was led astray by others.
"I'd say I picked the wrong people who led me down the wrong path. I've got people in place who are going to fix everything now. It's something I should have done a long time ago," said Johnson, who declined to comment further to the newspaper.
As a busy young athlete inexperienced in money management, the Indianapolis native wanted to make his earnings last beyond his professional career, and he entrusted his financial affairs to his parents, according to court documents.
The filings blamed his situation on unethical actions by financial advisers and creditors "in a systematic, deliberate and predatory lending and investment scheme whereby they lined their own pockets" at his expense. He said in court documents that problems began in early 2011, when he signed his first big deal — a $30.5 million, seven-year extension — just four years into his career with Los Angeles.
Left with significant debts and a number of lawsuits aimed at collecting on loans, he had to file bankruptcy to deal with the costs of litigation, garnishment orders and settlement agreements, the filing said.