Inside Evander Kane’s Bankruptcy: ‘A Vicious Cycle of Loan After Loan’
In 2017, then-San Jose Sharks come in Evander Kane He owed $140,000 to a bookie who went by the name “Vinny” and $100,000 to a casino, some of the tens of millions of dollars in debt that Kane, who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in early last year, he accumulated throughout his career. To make the payments, among others, he often borrowed from friends and numerous lenders.
Those details emerged in a court motion last week by his main creditor, Centennial Bank, which wants to block bankruptcy to prevent Kane from walking away from his debts. The bank, which claims it is owed more than $8 million, included with its motion excerpts from a July deposition in which Kane described a history of borrowing tens of millions of dollars to pay off loans and other debts, including gambling.
Centennial is trying to get to the heart of one of the most high-profile athlete bankruptcy cases in years: With more than $50 million in professional earnings and tens of millions of dollars in loans, what happened to the money? “I’m just trying to find out what exactly, what have you done with your funds,” a Centennial attorney asked Kane early in the bankruptcy proceedings, during what is known as a 2004 examination, excerpts of which were attached to the motion of the bank.
It doesn’t sound like Centennial, which declined to comment through one of its attorneys, but has an answer.
When Kane, who now plays at Edmonton Oilers, submitted his request Almost two years ago, it listed assets of $10.2 million and liabilities of $26.8 million, much of it bank debt recently. But between 2014 and 2018, Kane also borrowed nearly $30 million in 16 separate transactions detailed in the statement by Centenary attorney Andrew Ghekas, with the proceeds often used to pay off or retire earlier loans.
In the bank’s motion, the lender writes that since 2014, Kane has entered into 24 separate loan agreements.
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“It was a cycle of taking out new loans to pay off existing loans,” Kane said in the July 6 statement, according to the partial transcript included as an exhibit to Centennial’s motion. And referring to the finance company he hired to fix the debt, Kane added: “Sure Sports were the ones looking for these loans for me, they were the ones who took out the loan with you and Centennial Bank, and it was just a vicious cycle of loan after loan that they could get me into.”
Sure Sports, which specializes in contract-based loans for athletes and is being sued by the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee for its role in Kane’s bankruptcy, declined to comment.
One of the questions Centennial repeatedly asked Kane in that July 6 interview is as he explained that much of his current debt was incurred to replace high-interest loans, what were those earlier so-called “hard money” loans for? He often responded that he didn’t know or that they had to take out older loans, according to the transcript of the statement.
Kane also borrowed more than $2 million from friends and stated that these debts were incurred in various instances to help him pay off mortgages, loans from other people and gambling debts. In one case, he bought a $9,000 Pokemon card, he testified, as payment to Tony Veltri, who the bankruptcy filing says is owed $320,000.
Kane spent $10 million on real estate and listed expenses of nearly $100,000 a month in his January 2021 bankruptcy petition. He also listed $1.5 million in gambling losses, but in In its motion to block the bankruptcy petition, Centennial argued that this figure does not hold up. “When reviewing the limited bank statements produced by Kane where Kane allegedly withdrew gambling cash, the records do not support $1,500,000 in gambling losses,” the bank wrote. “This is because, as Kane admitted, he has no records that he could consult to verify the losses.”
It is not stated whether the bank believes there are more or less than $1.5 million in gambling losses, but the motion and statement focus in part on the gambling issue.
Ghekas questioned Kane about the use of four 2017 loans from Thrivest Specialty, which lent the hockey player a cumulative total of $11 million, according to the attorney’s statement. After Kane said he couldn’t remember what the loans were for, Ghekas followed up with, “It’s been identified that $140,000 was owed to Vinny. Do you see that?”
“Yes,” Kane replied.
“And who’s Vinny?”
“He’s a bookie, but it’s not like his real name, it’s just a name that was used… It was a name that was given to me to identify him.”
“So would you have any records to back up what was owed to Vinny?”
Kane replied no.
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During Kane’s divorce last year, his now-ex-wife Anna Kane alleged that her husband bet on NHL games He denied it and an NHL investigation cleared him of the charge. In its motion, Centennial mentions that Kane played in casinos and bet on football, basketball and baseball games, but does not mention hockey.
Kane has admitted in court proceedings to having a gambling problem, and his gang sees Centennial’s motion as a ploy designed to embarrass him. Centennial argued that because Kane has no records to back up its gambling losses or gains, it violates the bankruptcy code’s requirement that a debtor keep substantive records as part of the Chapter 7 process.
Kane has successfully defended the bankruptcy petition to this point, winning court rulings rejecting efforts by bank creditors to slow the process. The court largely halted the process earlier this year to prepare for a series of adversarial, trial-like cases, including Centennial. A group of banks is trying to turn the case into a different chapter under the business code, and a woman is suing Kane for an alleged debt owed to him to obtain an abortion.
Kane’s attorney wrote in an email that if the judge scheduled a hearing, he would respond to the bank’s arguments, otherwise the case would eventually go to trial.
(Photo: Perry Nelson / USA Today)
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