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Former New York sports mogul files for bankruptcy in Florida

Professional sports team owners can hit it big by investing in a team that wins on the field, or lose an investment if that team performs poorly. Some Tennessee residents might remember Steve Donner, a sports promoter and owner of several teams in different sports who seemed to be a marketing genius in the 1990s. However, Donner filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May.

The 57-year-old sports mogul and his wife faced a debt of $9.5 million, $8.5 million of which was in the form of a loan he obtained to construct a stadium for one of his teams. Other debts were from unpaid credit card balances, medical expenses and various business ventures. Now he and his wife have assets of just under $17,000 and a combined monthly income of $4,000. At the peak of his sports promotion and ownership career, Donner, a native of Rochester, New York, owned the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League and the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. A Florida transplant, he was active in bringing a National Hockey League team, a National Lacrosse League team, and a professional soccer team to his adopted state. In more than 25 years, he accrued eight championships with teams he owned.

Donner now works for a meat-packing company and seems unperturbed by his challenges. He says the bankruptcy will help him restructure his finances. Most of his remaining assets are in the form of an SUV and a minivan.

Tennessee residents looking at high levels of debt can take a page from Donner's book. Filing for bankruptcy can provide debt relief so that people can move on with their lives with a fresh start.

Source: Democrat & Chronicle, "Former Amerks owner Steve Donner files for bankruptcy," Matthew Daneman and Steve Bradley, July 3, 2014

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