• Mayor Emanuel Critical of Governor Quinn Appointee Who Filed Bankruptcy

    This Illinois Statehouse News video features Governor’s Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Kelly Kraft, who Governor Pat Quinn chose to be executive director of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority-the state agency that operates US Cellular Field. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, however, said he wants a person with experience in managing finances to run the agency, the Chicago Tribune reported. Kraft’s personal history with finances became an issue when the Tribune reported on October 5, 2012, that Kraft filed for bankruptcy after owing more than $102,500, mainly in credit card debt .

    Kraft is a former reporter for WFLD-TV who joined the Quinn administration as a budget office spokeswoman in 2009. She was later promoted to assistant budget director before being named Quinn’s top spokeswoman in July with an annual salary of $111,000, the Tribune reported.

    “That board and that staff is the thin blue line protecting the taxpayers of the city of Chicago from paying, in case there’s something’s mismanaged,” Emanuel told WBBM-AM. “And I think we should find the best-qualified people for that, which is why I – given the board I inherited – replaced them, put in place a whole new board with backgrounds in financial management, and expect the staff to meet that standard.”

    “I think we have a good person, a strong person, a strong woman who knows how to manage the budget, find economies and efficiencies, knows how to work with people,” Quinn told WBBM. “There’s a lot to be said with someone who can work with all kinds of folks, make sure we have diversity and fairness, and also a person who understands the world of finance and bonds and things like that, and I think that’s Kelly Kraft. … I think it’s time for the mayor to recognize that.”

    Tribune columnist Eric Zorn correctly asked with the title of an October 10 blog post, “When, if ever, is personal bankruptcy a disqualifying entry on a job application?” As we have noted before in our blog posts about famous bankruptcies , many notable modern and historical figures also had to file bankruptcy before they became successful. The truth is that Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are legal ways for people to reorganize debt when life delivers unexpected changes. Contact our firm at (866) 930-7482 or complete the form on this page to have our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers see if Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be able to help you turn your own situation around.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers

  • ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ Author Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

    This video shows Robert Kiyosaki’s appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show in 2000 following the publication of his successful financial self-help book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” On October 12, 2012, Business Insider reported that Kiyosaki filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection after losing a nearly $24 million court judgment to The Learning Annex, a private adult education school based in New York.

    Business Insider described The Learning Annex as being “one of Kiyosaki’s earliest backers,” but the personal finance guru never paid Annex its rightful share after it arranged “the speaking engagements and platform that led to his massive success.”

    “I took Kiyosaki’s brand and made it bigger. The deal was I would get a percentage, and he reneged,” Bill Zanker, The Learning Annex’s founder and chairman, told the New York Post. “We had a signed letter of intent. The Learning Annex is the greatest promoter….Oprah believed in him, and Will Smith believed in him, but he didn’t keep his promise to us.”

    As Business Insider noted, Kiyosaki “probably won’t feel the pinch in his wallet” since “Forbes pegs his net worth around a cool $80 million.” However, we highlight famous bankruptcies like Kiyosaki’s to illustrate that many successful individuals experience financial hardships. If you are overwhelmed with debt because of late mortgage payments or astronomical medical bills, it is important for you to understand that you are not alone.

    The good news is that filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you get a fresh start. Contact our firm at (866) 930-7482 or complete the form on this page to let our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers see how we can help.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • Famous Bankruptcies: Ulysses S. Grant

    As millions of Americans consider which candidate they think is the best man to be president, this week’s famous bankruptcy will look back on one of the former presidents that numerous polls rank as one of the worst. The administration of Ulysses S. Grant was marred by numerous scandals such as Black Friday in 1869 and the Whiskey Ring in 1875. “My failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent,” Grant wrote to Congress at the conclusion of his second term.

    The two years Grant spent traveling the world with his wife and dining with foreign dignitaries at the end of his second term depleted most of his savings. At the suggestion of his son, Buck, Grant placed nearly all of his financial assets into a partnership with Ferdinand Ward. However, Ward mismanaged and embezzled the money, bankrupting the company and leaving Grant’s family deep in debt.

    Suffering from throat cancer, Grant struck a publishing deal with Mark Twain to use the memoirs to repay his debts and provide for his family after his death. The terminally ill former president worked tirelessly on the project in the final year of his life and finished his autobiography just days before his death. The book received widespread praise upon publication with Twain calling the book “a great, unique and unapproachable literary masterpiece.” “There is no higher literature than these modest, simple Memoirs,” Twain said. “Their style is at least flawless, and no man can improve upon it.”

    The corruption that occurred on Grant’s watch during his time in office was unprecedented at the time and has certainly contributed to his low placement in historical rankings. However, the memoirs as well as his advocacy for civil and human rights-most notably toward American Indians and African Americans-during Reconstruction have helped his reputation improve over time.

    Despite the scandals that plagued his time in office, Grant’s efforts and the methods employed to pay off his debt before his death can be an inspiration to anybody about to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy . If you are looking for a fresh start financially, contact my firm to schedule a consultation to see how I can help.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • Famous Bankruptcies: Mike Tyson

    A former heavyweight champion who amassed roughly $400 million over two decades and could once command $30 million for a night’s work, Mike Tyson ultimately had to file bankruptcy in 2003. The New York Times reported in August of that year that Tyson had $23 million in debts specified in Chapter 11 petitions he filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. In 2004 though, the Associated Press reported that Tyson owed $38.4 million to various creditors including the Internal Revenue Service and his ex-wife, Monica.

    As the Times put it, Tyson’s “record earnings in the boxing ring became a license to spend — on jewelry, mansions, cars, limousines, cellphones, parties, clothing, motorcycles and Siberian tigers.” For example, the Times reported in that article that Tyson had “picked up a $173,706 gold chain lined with 80 carats in diamonds” from a Las Vegas jewelry store, but never paid for the item.

    While it is highly unlikely that your own lifetime earnings or spending on extravagances are anywhere near as astronomical as Tyson’s, perhaps you can still relate in the sense that an increase in salary led you to spend more than you should have. Many people spent beyond their means when times were good and then found themselves unable to pay the bills when they became unemployed or took a new job that pays significantly less than what they had been earning.

    However, just like Tyson, filing bankruptcy can allow you to manage your debt if you are struggling to pay your bills or seeking foreclosure help . A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy could allow you to reorganize or eliminate you debt, as well as deliver a knockout punch to creditor harassment.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • Famous Bankruptcies: Donald Trump

    “I don’t like the ‘b’ word,” Donald Trump said from the witness stand in a New Jersey bankruptcy courtroom in 2010. Oddly enough, it was during the third time that Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. was going through Chapter 11.

    “I never went bankrupt, and a lot of people did go bankrupt,” Trump told the congressional newspaper The Hill for a story published on December 6, 2011. Technically, “the Donald” has never filed for personal bankruptcy, but he has filed for corporate bankruptcy-four times, actually, between 1991 and 2009.

    This segment on celebrities who have filed bankruptcy was an idea that came from the way that financial problems were being used to try and discredit women accusing former presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual impropriety. Now that Trump himself is once again hinting at the possibility of running as an independent candidate, it only seems fair to ask why Trump does not receive the same type of scrutiny.

    Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal did just that when Trump was first grandstanding discussing running for the Republican nomination back in April. You can see his visible anger in regards to the bankruptcy issue when Kelly Evans asks why “someone who filed for bankruptcy multiple times” should be “running national finances at a time when we have a big debt problem” at the 3:30 mark in this video interview:

    Got that? Donald has used the laws of this country to negotiate corporate debt deals, but has never filed bankruptcy. During a December 7 interview with Neil Cavuto on the same Fox News network that Trump expressed admiration for in the above Journal interview, when the bankruptcy question was asked again, Trump again vehemently denied the charge and said it has been “so incorrectly reported, it’s amazing.” “I’ve opened up a wound here,” Cavuto said.

    Again, whether you simply need foreclosure help or have suddenly found your debt has gotten out of your control, you need to know that people on both ends of the financial spectrum have used bankruptcy court to get a fresh start. If you fear that filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will prevent you from ever getting “the ultimate job interview” on “The Apprentice,” keep in mind that the host of the program’s companies bearing his name have certainly been no stranger to that “b” word he supposedly dislikes so much.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • Famous Bankruptcies: Abraham Lincoln

    Chances are good that you have probably seen the infamous “Abraham Lincoln Didn’t Quit” list that has appeared in numerous emails and books ever since it was first created, even appearing in Reader’s Digest in 1967. The 16th President of the United States indeed overcame a number of difficulties in his life, but as the urban legends reference pages at Snopes.com notes about the “Didn’t Quit” list, much of the information contained on the list is guilty of exaggeration or taken out of context.

    One claim on that list is that in 1833, Lincoln “borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.” As Snopes points out, “Honest Abe” had no money for his half when he and William F. Berry purchased a general store in New Salem, Illinois, that year. Rather, he signed a note with one of the previous owners for his share. When he was unable to pay off that note after the debt on the store became due the following year, CNN noted, “Lincoln didn’t have modern bankruptcy laws to protect him.”

    CNN said Lincoln lost his two remaining assets, a horse and some surveying gear, but as Snopes notes, “Lincoln had obtained a position as the New Salem postmaster, and by 1835 he was earning money both as a surveyor and a state legislator.” While CNN reported that Lincoln continued paying off his debts until well into the 1840s, Snopes pointed out that it did not take 17 years nor  was Lincoln “completely financially encumbered until it was paid in full.”

    While Lincoln’s struggles might be subject to some embellishment over time, the fact remains that the man whose face appears on the penny had a period of time in his life where he did not have “a single cent to spare,” as CNN put it. And as CNN also mentioned, other presidents such as Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant and William McKinley have also experienced bankruptcy.

    You might not have hopes of becoming commander-in-chief, but Abraham Lincoln and other presidents who overcame bankruptcy can hopefully prove to you the heights still available after filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney