Robert Snell / The Detroit News
Former Detroit Pistons “Bad Boy” Rick Mahorn, a member of the 1989 NBA championship team and the franchise’s radio analyst, has filed bankruptcy and lost his $500,000 home, records show.
Mahorn, 51, and his wife filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy because of failed investments, the plummeting value of their Rochester Hills home, and the burden of repaying more than $200,000 to the IRS, he said. Portions of his paychecks have been seized to satisfy delinquent federal taxesrecords show. Along with Derrick Coleman, Mahorn is the second retired Pistons star to file bankruptcy in recent months.
Last week, the trustee overseeing Mahorn’s Chapter 7 filing accused him of failing to account for several assets, including his NBA pension and championship rings: one with the Pistons and two as a coach of the WNBA’s Detroit Shock.
The whereabouts of his Pistons ring is a mystery.
“It’s gone,” he said in an interview with The Detroit News.
Mahorn, who earned more than $6.8 million and a reputation for aggressive defensive play during an 18-year career, and Coleman are the latest in a recent string of retired Detroit athletes to experience financial problems, including former Detroit Lion Luther Elliss and former Red Wings Darren McCarty and Sergei Fedorov.
“Like any normal American, I’m trying to find a job to better myself,” Mahorn said. “I’m doing everything possible.”
Mahorn is part of the Pistons radio broadcast team and he works for Palace Sports & Entertainment, but he and his wife are trying to find additional jobs to boost their income.
Mahorn and his wife filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Dec. 8, listing $228,603 in assets and $518,688 in liabilities. The case is pending in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit. A Chapter 7 filing lets individuals discharge certain debts while allowing the court to liquidate nonexempt assets and use the money to help pay creditors.
Public records indicate Mahorn and his wife faced a foreclosure sale in April 2009 because the couple had defaulted on their mortgage and owed more than $539,000. They were later sued in a Rochester Hills district court by U.S. National Bank, which won a judgment for possession in November.
Mahorn, who retired from the National Basketball Association in 1999, would not discuss the nature of the failed investments or more specifics about how he spent millions in NBA income. The bankruptcy filing came
after he failed to renegotiate the mortgage on his Rochester Hills home, which had plummeted in value by about $300,000.
Mahorn surrendered the home to his mortgage company last month and is renting in Metro Detroit.
The bankruptcy filing came despite Mahorn earning a six-figure salary in recent years through jobs coaching the Shock and as color commentator on Pistons radio broadcasts. The couple made $161,065 in 2008 but his income fell to an estimated $100,000 last year.
He was netting $6,161 a month but his average monthly expenses were $12,763, according to bankruptcy court records.
Following an NBA career that included stints with the Washington Bullets, Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, Mahorn has coached for several teams, including the Atlanta Hawks and in the Continental Basketball Association.
Mahorn was head coach of the Shock for one season before the team was sold last year and relocated to Tulsa, Okla.
When the Mahorns filed, they had $100 cash and $1,001 in two checking accounts. He was leasing a 2007 Cadillac Escalade and owned a 1999 Lincoln Navigator worth $2,200, and a 1971 Oldsmobile 442 worth $10,000; and his wife owned a 2000 Volkswagen Jetta with 85,000 miles on the odometer.
The couple listed an unspecified amount of state and federal income taxes among liabilities. But public records show that since 2006, the IRS has filed liens for almost $214,000 in delinquent taxes against Mahorn.
A lien is filed when taxes haven’t been paid and gives the government a legal claim to a person’s or company’s property. Liens serve as security or payment for the tax debt.
Mahorn’s lawyer Scott Zochowski said the tax debt has been repaid.
The IRS seized an estimated $35,000 from his paychecks last year to satisfy the tax debt, according to bankruptcy court records.