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Mailbag: Larry King, yutz or scumbag?

The readers write:

Enjoyed your piece about CNN king Larry King, and I'm pleased that you portrayed the sorry side of him when it comes to his stay in Miami. Now a multi-millionaire, that yutz has never paid back the people he fleeced here in South Florida: the countless loans, the unpaid restaurant and bar tabs. Sure, some of those place are out of business, and some of the people he fraudulently borrowed money from are dead. But a debt is a debt is a debt, unpaid or otherwise. What a scumbag.
   

Ed McLean

Ft. Pierce, FL

It would have been interesting to read whether Larry King thinks he has a moral obligation -- clearly he doesn't have a legal one -- to pay the debts owed to many Miamians when he filed for bankruptcy now that he is a multi-millionaire.

Mike Rosenthal

Miami

This is the first article I can recall about Mr. King since his success at CNN where anyone speaks about his financial woes in Miami. Credit goes to a man that can leave an area in shame and make himself a legend elsewhere. Who knows what he disclosed or how much
due diligence CNN did then.

Real credit and fortitude would be how he handled those issues once he became successful, like Valjean in Les Miserable. It could make an interesting article to find out who were his creditors and if they were ever paid back any principal, interest, or other remunerations.

Rafael R. Palacios

Miami

It's interesting that most of the mail I got from Miami on Sunday's story on Larry King concentrated on the bad debts he left behind in South Florida, while the letters from the rest of the country -- we'll get to those later today -- were directed more toward his qualities as a broadcaster. It's not hard to understand why; King left a lot of Miami people in the financial lurch when he moved to Washington in 1978 and declared bankruptcy. That wiped out more than $332,000 in debt, to everybody from ex-wives to Disney World. A tiny handful of individual debtors -- like a junior-high teacher who had paid King to pitch an idea for a TV show to the networks -- got their money back, but they were the definite exceptions.

King2 King has never kept his financial shenanigans a secret, from CNN or anybody else -- there's an entire chapter of his autobiography devoted to them -- but neither does he feel any obligation to pay them. "The reason they have bankruptcy laws is to give people a chance to start anew," he told the Herald in 1991. "Bankruptcy is not a dishonorable thing -- I believe it's part of the First Amendment. If it was dishonorable, a lot of people in Miami would be in big trouble."

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