Rison faces bankruptcy to pay child support

Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — Former NFL and Michigan State wide receiver Andre Rison faces a court-ordered bankruptcy to pay more than $105,000 in back child support and other claims.
Terese Dear, a courtroom deputy for U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Flint, said Tuesday that an order was entered June 6 to put Rison into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Rison, a Flint native, has until June 25 to respond to the order before the court proceeds with efforts to recover his assets, Dear said. The Flint Journal reported on the court action Monday.

The former Pro Bowl receiver owes child support, attorney fees and court administrative costs, according to a bankruptcy court petition.

Rison’s ex-wife, Tonja Rison of Southfield, is listed as one of the creditors on that petition. Her claim is for more than $58,000 in child support. An Atlanta law office is claiming another $46,000 in unpaid legal fees for seeking child support from Rison for two children by a girlfriend.

The Genesee County friend of the court also is after $400 in administrative fees.

Rison’s attorney, David Kallman of Lansing, said Tuesday that he had no comment on the bankruptcy order.

Attorney David Findling was appointed a receiver by Genesee County Circuit Court to go after child support when Andre and Tonja Rison divorced in 1990. He is hoping to be named trustee in the bankruptcy.

Findling said between $60,000 and $70,000 in the player’s NFL pension already has been liquidated for the Tonja Rison child support case. His office also is going after a $100,000 severance benefit Rison had in his final NFL contract with the Oakland Raiders.

That money had been claimed from the Raiders by the Internal Revenue Service, but Findling said he sued and got the IRS to release its levy. The Raiders then turned the severance over to a California lawyer to disburse to Rison’s creditors.

To Findling’s knowledge, Rison has children in Kansas City, Mo., Georgia and Michigan. He said child support is owed in all three cases.

Atlanta lawyer Randall Kessler represented Rison’s former girlfriend Raycoa Handley. He said his office spent 10 years trying to collect child support for their two children who now are adults.

Kessler said his office was able to collect $125,597 from Rison’s NFL player annuity.

“That just covered child support,” Kessler said.

The more than $46,000 due his office is for legal fees.

Kessler said he is concerned that Rison now owns very little that can be liquidated through bankruptcy.

Rison spent nearly a month in a Georgia jail in 2005 for failing to pay child support.

He entered the NFL in 1989 after playing college football at Michigan State. From 1989 to 2000, he played for seven pro teams. He played five games in the Canadian Football League when his NFL career ended.