6 Famous Bankruptcies of 2013

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Detroit may still be dominating headlines, but last year the Motor City shared something in common with Casey Anthony, Sinbad and Girls Gone Wild, to name a few.

The city of Detroit made history when it filed for bankruptcy protection in July. The largest municipal bankruptcy case to date continues to make headlines into 2014, but it’s hardly the only high-profile bankruptcy filing of 2013.

Municipal filings were actually more common in 2012, when California kept making headlines because Stockton, San Bernardino and the town of Mammoth Lakes filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. In 2013, on the other hand, celebrity names seemed to dominate insolvency headlines.

Chapter 7 filings

Petitions for bankruptcy protection filed under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code are also known as Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings or personal bankruptcy filings. When a bankruptcy judge ends such a case with a discharge order, the debtor is free of most of their debts and creditors can’t come after them for those debts.

Casey Anthony

On Jan. 25, more than two years after she was aquitted of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Casey Anthony filed a petition for bankruptcy protection that cited numerous debts related to her trial. Last month, the bankruptcy judge granted a discharge.

Anthony’s petition cited:

  • Total liabilities of $792,119.
  • Total assets of $1,084.
  • The largest debts included $500,000 owed to her attorney and $145,660 to the Orange County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office for a “judgment for investigative fees and costs.”


Also known as David Adkins, the comedian and star of the 1990s sitcom “The Sinbad Show” filed for bankruptcy protection on April 4. The media tends to report the filing as his second in four years, but court records show that his 2009 petition, also under Chapter 7, was dismissed by the judge for failure to file paperwork.

“I kept thinking, ‘OK, I’ll get one more movie, and I’ll wipe these bills out,'” he told The Huffington Post. “But that movie didn’t come.”

The second time around, the judge granted Sinbad a discharge.

  • Total liabilities of $10.99 million.
  • Total assets of $131,126.
  • The largest debts included $8.26 million owed to the IRS.

Kelly Rutherford

The “Gossip Girl” and “Melrose Place” actress filed for bankruptcy on May 20. A divorced mother of two children under age 10, she listed average monthly expenses of $1,760 and an average monthly income of $1,279 in her petition, which ended with a discharge.

  • Total liabilities of $2.02 million.
  • Total assets of $23,937.
  • The largest debts included $358,960 to multiple government units for various types of income taxes and more than $250,000 for legal bills related to a custody dispute.

Chapter 11 filings

Petitions for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 are also known as reorganization because the debtor, generally a business but sometimes a business person, often wishes to reorganize in an effort to get out from under their debts over time.

Girls Gone Wild franchise

GGW Brands LLC and affiliated GGW companies filed for bankruptcy protection in February. In the petition filed by GGW Brands, however, every debt is listed as disputed.

Ronald Tym, an attorney for the franchise founded by Joe Francis, told The Wall Street Journal that the petitions stem from claims filed against GGW companies in the wake of several legal judgments against Francis.

“The bankruptcy filing will enable us to have the court determine the legitimacy of the claims in one time at one court. It’s trying to conserve resources to get those claims resolved,” Tym said of the ongoing cases.

GGW Brands LLC’s petition cited:

  • Estimated liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million.
  • Estimated assets of $0 to $50,000.
  • Largest debts include a disputed $10.3 million to the Wynn Las Vegas resort.


Known by his stage names “DMX” and “Dark Man X,” rapper and actor Earl Simmons filed a petition for bankruptcy protection on July 29. According to an affidavit he filed the same day, he opted for Chapter 11 “to enable [him] to reorganize [his] financial affairs and be able to confirm a plan of reorganization.” Court records show the request was eventually dismissed by the judge, following the bankruptcy trustee’s request for a hearing about converting the case to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or dismissing it.

  • Estimated liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million.
  • Estimated assets of $0 to $50,000
  • Largest debts included $1.33 million to Child Support Enforcement of Albany, N.Y., for child support.


In a sad day for designer-label bargain shoppers, Loehmann’s filed a petition for bankruptcy on Dec. 15, court records show. The ongoing case is not the first for the 92-year-old chain, but it looks like the last: Dow Jones reported reported that Loehmann’s will begin closing its 39 stores this month for failure to find a buyer.

  • Estimated liabilities of between $100 million and $500 million.
  • Estimated assets of between $50 million and $100 million.
  • Largest debts include $546,317 to women’s clothing company Leon Max Inc., better known by its Max Studio brand.

P.S. Their designer discounts are currently discounted by up to another 50 percent online. Keep an eye on your local store, too, for going-out-of-business sales.

Stacy Johnson

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