Debts, fees could force Rison into bankruptcy court

The Flint Journal

Former Flint Northwestern and NFL star Andre Rison could be forced into bankruptcy because of overdue child support debts. Three creditors tied to two child support cases against Rison have filed an involuntary petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Flint, claiming they are collectively owed more than $105,000 in fees and child support, including a $58,435 claim from ex-wife Tonja Rison.

Filed May 9, the case could help move Rison’s child support debts ahead of other creditors who are positioning themselves to tap into a $100,000 severance paid by the Oakland Raiders, the last NFL team Rison played for, said David Findling, a receiver appointed to recover child support from Rison.

Findling said Rison still hasn’t been served with a summons in the bankruptcy case. The Flint Journal could not reach David Kallman, a Lansing attorney who has represented Rison, for comment Wednesday.

According to papers filed in the case, the Raiders withheld part of the severance to pay taxes and deposited the remaining amount with a California court. The Raiders asked the court to decide who should receive the money, Findling said. The bankruptcy filing could bring the money back to Michigan and make repayment of child support debts the top priority, he added.

Rison, a five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, most recently played professional football for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League but was released by the team in August 2005. The Web site says Rison was trying out for several arena football teams one year ago, but the site’s news section hasn’t been updated since. Rison told The Flint Journal in February that he was busy with music and film projects and appeared on Spike TV’s “Pros vs. Joes” series.

Problems with child support have dogged Rison for years, landing him in jail for nearly a month in 2004 for failing to pay child support. He was released after agreeing to restart payments, but in addition to Tonja Rison’s claim for child support, Atlanta attorney Randall Kessler also claims Rison still owes him attorney fees of $46,215 for his work collecting child support for Raycoa Handley, a Flint native who is the mother of two of Rison’s other children.