Christian Laettner, a former Duke basketball star whose venture into the business world has left a trail of debt and creditors, could be in bankruptcy court soon if he fails to come up with $14.05 million.
Five of his creditors have started involuntary bankruptcy proceedings against Laettner, a Florida resident.
The action comes five months after Phase II of the West Village mixed-use project in downtown Durham sold for $187 million. One of the businesses that received $28.3 million in proceeds from the sale, Fuller Street Development, lists Laettner as a partner, court records show, though it is unclear how much, if any, Laettner personally received from the deal.
Through the bankruptcy filing delivered to one of Laettner’s lawyers last week, the creditors hope to recoup millions in unpaid debt.
The creditors and the amounts they say they are owed are:
?National Servicing amp; Administration, a limited liability corporation based in Minnesota, where Laettner played for the Timberwolves in the NBA: $7,321,230
?Ernest Sims, III, a former Detroit Lions linebacker: $1,482,730
?Jonathan C. Stewart, a Carolina Panthers running back: $3,629,230
?Park Lane, a sports investment firm started by Andrew Kline, who played for the St. Louis Rams.: $236,193; and
?Damp;F DCU LLC: $1,382,545
“We are optimistic that the funds from the sale of the West Village can be used to reach a global resolution with all of Christian’s creditors,” said Hassan Zavareei, a Washington-based lawyer representing Laettner. “As such, the negotiations are ongoing.”
West Village, set amid the new restaurants, homes and shops revitalizing Durham’s downtown, includes 609 apartments and 104,000 square feet of commercial space. The three-phase project was developed by a partnership that was led by Laettner, his former Duke teammate Brian Davis, and Tom Niemann, a Duke business school graduate.
Laettner, 46, earned a total of $61 million as an NBA player, Nonetheless, he has been mired in financial problems related to subsequent real estate projects, including the ambitious West Village.
In 2012, he was sued for $30 million by former Chicago Bulls stalwart Scottie Pippen and others. Shawne Merriman, a former San Diego Charger and Buffalo Bill, also has had to go to court to pursue money he loaned Laettner.
In an unusual twist, Laettner also sued his own real estate company, Blue Devil Ventures, for $10 million.
Laettner has gone before federal judges numerous times asking for extensions and reprieves to settle his debts for real estate projects in Durham, Baltimore and elsewhere.
In April 2015, Laettner was served foreclosure papers on the $3.65 million mansion he owned on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in Florida.