Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Jack Johnson has gone bankrupt, reports The Columbus Dispatch.
Despite already earning more than $18 million over his nine-year career before entering the 2014-15 campaign — and being set to make $5 million per season through 2017-18 — the 27-year-old player filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 7.
A series of risky loans at high interest rates, defaults on those loans, and three lawsuits filed against Johnson (two settled, one pending) over the course of nearly four years forced Johnson, who now has a new group of financial advisers, to claim himself bankrupt.
“I’d say I picked the wrong people who led me down the wrong path,” Johnson told the newspaper last week. “I’ve got people in place who are going to fix everything now. It’s something I should have done a long time ago.”
Some of those people who led the player down the wrong financial path are his own parents, Jack Sr. and Tina Johnson, sources close to the player told Dispatch reporter Aaron Portzline.
From the must-read Dispatch story, which has the hockey world buzzing:
Johnson’s parents allegedly each bought a car, spent more than $800,000 on upgrades to the Manhattan Beach property and traveled, often to see him play NHL games for the Kings and Blue Jackets.
“Jack would ask (his parents) questions: ‘What’s this? What are these guys calling about?’ ” a source said. “And they would tell him not to worry about it, just worry about playing hockey.
“These were his parents, right? He trusted them. It wasn’t until last spring or early summer that he understood there was a significant problem.”
In his bankruptcy filing, Johnson claims assets of “less than $50,000” and debts of “more than $10 million,” although sources say the debt could be in the neighborhood of $15 million.
A bankruptcy hearing is scheduled for Jan. 23 in Los Angeles.
Tina Johnson’s cellphone number listed in court documents is no longer in service. Jack Johnson Sr. has not returned several messages left on his cellphone, and several of the lenders have no storefronts or business phones.
Johnson has cut off all contact with his family, a source said.
Johnson’s paychecks from the Blue Jackets have been garnisheed to the point where, at the end of last season, “His paychecks were gone before he even got them,” a source said.
“I’ve seen lots of instances of parents riding their kid’s coattails around,” said an NHL executive familiar with the case. “I’ve never seen a case as ugly as this one, where the parents took such advantage of their kid.”