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November 21, 2007

So, Mr. Vick, Was it Worth It?

(CNN) -- The government asked a federal court Tuesday to order former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to keep on hand assets valued at more than $900,000 -- the amount earmarked for the care of 54 pit bulls.

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The animals were found on his property when a dogfighting operation was busted last April. Vick turned himself in to authorities Monday to get a jump start on serving his sentence for running the ring.

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson noted that Vick, in his plea agreement, agreed to pay "restitution for the full amount of the costs associated with the disposition of all dogs" in the case.

Vick agreed that those costs could include "the long-term care and/or the humane euthanasia of some or all of those animals," which were seized from the "Bad Newz Kennels" on his property in Surry County, Virginia.

The motion said that only a restraining order can ensure that Vick's assets are not placed beyond the reach of the government. It noted that Vick's financial condition is deteriorating, and cited the team's attempt to recoup bonus money from his 10-year, $130 million 2004 football contract; his alleged default on a $1.3 million bank loan for a wine store; another bank lawsuit seeking payment for default on a $2.5 million line of credit; and yet another bank's lawsuit seeking at least $2 million for loans related to a car-rental business.

"In addition, published reports also indicate that Vick is in the process of selling assets, specifically a suburban Atlanta home listed at $4.5 million," it said.

Vick, 27, is being held at Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, until an upcoming sentencing hearing. He pleaded guilty in August to a federal conspiracy charge of bankrolling the dogfighting operation after three associates admitted their own roles in the ring and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Vick, who has been suspended indefinitely by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, faces 12 to 18 months in prison on the conspiracy charge. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 10.

On September 25, a Virginia grand jury indicted Vick and the three co-defendants on state charges of running a dogfighting ring. The Surry County grand jury brought two felony charges against the four men: one count of unlawfully torturing and killing dogs and one of promoting dogfights. Each could result in a five-year prison term.


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