Donald Trump


Although Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, never filed personal bankruptcy, companies that he owns, or controls have filed chapter 11 proceedings six times. In chapter 11, the owners of companies are permitted to continue operating their businesses while cancelling much of their debt. A bankruptcy judge must approve a repayment plan, but many creditors [including smaller local companies that provided the labor and materials to build properties] and even equity owners, often must absorb significant losses under approved plans. Amid great…

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David Crosby


David Crosby, the legendary singer/songwriter and founding member of both The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, was a hero of the anti-war and counterculture movements in the 60s and 70s. With Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman and other members, the Byrds pioneered folk rock in the mid-60s with hits like “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “Eight Miles High”. He also produced Joni Mitchell’s first folk album and had a romantic relationship with her before she went on to become a…

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50 Cent


The rapper and actor 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson III, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015 after a New York jury found him liable for $5 million for posting a sex tape of a rival rapper’s girlfriend on-line without her permission. This may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back as he was already in debt for several business deals that went South, including one to market headphones. He emerged from the bankruptcy by re-paying about $22 million in…

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Francis Ford Coppola


The brilliant and award-winning director of “Apocalypse Now” and “The Godfather” trilogy filed bankruptcy multiple times for both himself and his production companies. His financial troubles began in the early 1980s when he obtained financing for the film “One from the Heart”, a flashy musical set in Las Vegas which was a flop at the box office. Street scenes were recreated in the director’s production company studios. The film cost $25 million to make and only generated $8 million in revenue. The reorganizations were a…

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Barneys NewYork


Barneys New York is a chain of luxury department stores headquartered in New York City.  It started as a discount retailer in the 1930s, but morphed into a luxury brand retailer in the 1980s. In the early 1990s Barneys expanded and opened 30 stores outside of its New York base.  Over-burdened with debt, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996 and closed stores in several locations across the country and abroad.  The majority interest of the company is now owned by Perry Capital…

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Andy Gibb


Andy Gibb was a pop singer whose three older brothers were world famous stars known as the BeeGees.  Andy found lessor fame in the 70s on his own.  Andy filed bankruptcy in 1987 listing more than a million dollars in debts and less than $50,000.00 in assets.

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Anna Nicole Smith


Of the all the celebrity bankruptcies, Anna Nicole Smith’S was perhaps the most interesting.  Smith was a model and actress and the 1993 Playboy Playmate of the Year.  She was a featured model for clothing companies, including Guess Jeans and Lane Bryant.  In 1994 Smith, who was then 26 years old, married an oil tycoon who was 89 at the time.  Many speculated that she married him for his money.  Upon her husband’s death, Smith and her husband’s son, E. Pierce Marshall, began a fierce…

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Bernhard Goetz


Bernhard Goetz is known as the “subway vigilante”.  In 1984 he was approached by four young African-American men on a subway in Manhattan, and asked for money.  After a previous mugging on the subway, Goetz had purchased a 38?caliber handgun in Florida.  When the four men approached him Goetz took out the gun and fired five shots seriously wounding all four.  The incident sparked a national discussion about crime and firearms.  It is credited with causing politicians to start cleaning up crime in New York…

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Bernard Madoff


“Bernie” Madoff is a former stockbroker and financier who perpetrated what is considered to be the largest stock fraud scheme in American history.  Madoff was a former chairman of the NASDAQ stock market and was on the board of governors of the NASD.  In 2009, Madoff was arrested on 11 felony counts of turning his wealth management business into a giant Ponzi scheme.  It is believed that investor losses were nearly $65 billion.  Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for his crimes.  His bankruptcy proceeding was…

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Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show


William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody was a western personality and showman in the 1800s and early 1900s.  When he was young, Cody was hired by the U.S. Military to provide buffalo meat, which is where he acquired his name.  He was a soldier, a scout, and one of the most colorful figures in the American old west.  He started a world-famous show called “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” which showcased the characters and lifestyle of the American west.  The shows toured throughout Europe and the Eastern…

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