Local News

Bankruptcy Hearing Probes Nifong's Finances

Posted February 8, 2008

— A bankruptcy trustee and an attorney representing two former Duke lacrosse players questioned former Durham prosecutor Mike Nifong at his bankruptcy hearing Friday.

Nifong filed for bankruptcy last month, listing a debt of $180.3 million. Almost all of that is the estimated damages from pending civil litigation that stems from the 2006 Duke lacrosse case.

Friday's hearing allowed creditors to question Nifong about his filing. The trustee asked Nifong if he left out any assets in his filing.

Nifong said he left out that he could get an inheritance as part of his mother's will, but added that he was removed.

His mother is still alive, and, "I hope she does not die," Nifong said.

Also not listed in the filing: two vintage guitars, worth about $5,000, a house his wife owns in Ashe County (although Nifong is listed on the mortgage) and a Honda Accord that is in his name.

Nifong also said he does not have professional liability insurance,that he is aware of. He does, however, have insurance for his car, house and life. His wife also has life insurance, he said

After the hearing, Nifong said he did not want to comment.

"It's not appropriate to discuss pending litigation. It's been my policy for 10 years," he said.

Nifong then chuckled as he walked out and said, "I don't enjoy coming to court for these things."

The creditors must decide if they will contest Nifong's bankruptcy filing. More hearings will be scheduled.

Nifong’s January filing came on the same day he and others involved in the Duke lacrosse case were to submit responses to a federal lawsuit by the three men he sought to prosecute.

Charles Davant, a lawyer representing Collin Finnerty and David Evans, asked Nifong during the hearing whether he disagreed with the accusations in the lawsuit.

"It's certainly disputed," Nifong said.

Nifong listed Evans, Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, as well as three other members of Duke University's 2006 men's lacrosse team who filed a separate federal lawsuit, as unsecured creditors and said each is owed $30 million.

More than 30 other lacrosse players from that team were listed as creditors, each owed $1. He also listed the North Carolina State Bar, owed $8,397.71 for costs related to his disbarment, and nearly 70 other people involved in or associated in some way with the nearly yearlong investigation of rape, sexual assault and kidnapping claims by an exotic dancer.

Nifong valued his assets, including his house, car and personal belongings, at $243,898.

Last month, a judge removed Nifong as a defendant in the players' lawsuit but said Nifong could again be added to the suit, depending on the outcome of his bankruptcy case.

If the bankruptcy judge determines Nifong willfully and maliciously injured the players, bankruptcy rules won't protect him from civil litigation.

Seligmann's attorney in the civil case, David Rudolf, said in January that the lawsuit would continue as planned, calling Nifong's bankruptcy filing a small part of the lawsuit at this point.

"Our primary concern is not collecting money from Mike Nifong," Rudolf said. "Our priority is how the city does business and to change how the police department conducts itself."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • taurismo Feb 8, 2008

    I'm sure that somewhere along the way in the many, many months since the original criminal case against the lacrosse players Nifong transferred assets out of his name foreseeing this. He should be investigated to find out what assets were in him name at that time, not today. The first thing the players' attorneys, knowing that they were going to sue Nifong, should have done was to get a injunction prohibiting Nifong from transferring, selling or giving away any of his assets.

  • moreupset Feb 8, 2008

    Nifong is in the news because he is the one in court. The woman who told the lies should be in court and pay the price

  • FIGSSIT Feb 8, 2008

    It's funny how Nifong is getting hammered and the stripper who started the whole deal is
    a. never in the news
    b. never received any punishment
    c. seemingly still a victim somehow

    totally bizarre concept.

  • VT1994Hokie Feb 8, 2008

    What about the stripper? Why haven't we heard anything about her? She should go to prison, in my opinion. She is the person that tried to derail three lives. Think about the total fees that the families paid to get someone to see the truth.

    Nifong is a shrewd operator. He is protecting his $$$$.

  • Mungo Feb 8, 2008

    whocares -

    I don't agree with frivolous lawsuits, but I think Nifong is getting what he dished out. He was relentless on the Duke students, as well was the attention from national minority groups.

    This ruined these kids lives. Who is to say how much is too much for Nifong? He was making malicious and false statements to the press way too early in the investigation.

    I only hope that other malicious DAs across the country are watching. Yes they are out there.

    What I'd love to see is the media put on trial, and several individuals from the national minority groups.

  • C6-YA Feb 8, 2008

    "It's not appropriate to discuss pending litigation. It's been my policy for 10 years," he said

    He's GOT to be kidding right?

  • whocares Feb 8, 2008

    I realize that he was wrong in what he did, but this is getting rediculous. Leave the man alone. He has to live with what he did every day for the rest of his life. I think that should be punishment enough. That and the fact that no one will hire him so what difference does it make. He has wound up with nothing, not even his reputation.

  • LibertarianTechie Feb 8, 2008

    Let's not forget that in the Hunt case, evidence wasn't willfully withheld by the DA and DNA Collectors in a blatantly bad case so the DA could get elected and later drop the case. That is why these boys deserve $30M and Hunt doesn't--besides the law limits what Hunt can receive as compensation from the state.

  • LibertarianTechie Feb 8, 2008

    "After the hearing, Nifong said he did not want to comment.
    "It's not appropriate to discuss pending litigation. It's been my policy for 10 years," he said."

    Nifong sure enough went against that policy a number of times talking to the press about not only the Duke Lacrosse team, but also those three players once the girl named them her alleged rapists.

  • Through a glass darkly Feb 8, 2008

    A lawyer with only $243,000 in assets? Sorry, I don't believe it.