Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson is earning $5 million this season after making $10.5 million over the previous three years alone. That’s enough to afford a person a comfortable lifestyle, but bad loans taken out by his parents have cost him dearly, based on a report from the Columbus Dispatch. That led to Johnson filing for bankruptcy on Oct. 7.
“I’d say I picked the wrong people who led me down the wrong path,” Johnson said. “I’ve got people in place who are going to fix everything now. It’s something I should have done a long time ago.”
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said “it’s heartbreaking” when players go broke, but there’s not much that can be done to prevent it other than teaching athletes about the potential dangers they face. Unfortunately, Fehr noted, it’s the people that they are close to that often end up victimizing them, per TSN’s Gord Miller.
That was reportedly the case with Johnson, according to the Dispatch:
Sources close to Johnson have told The Dispatch that his own parents — Jack Sr. and Tina Johnson — are among the “wrong people” who led him astray financially.
In 2008, Johnson parted ways with agent Pat Brisson, who represents some of the National Hockey League’s biggest stars, including Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
With no agent and little knowledge of how the financial world works, Johnson turned over control of his money to his parents.
Tina Johnson borrowed at least $15 million in her son’s name against his future earnings, sources told The Dispatch, taking out a series of high-interest loans — perhaps as many as 18 — from nonconventional lenders that resulted in a series of defaults.
Johnson has cut off all contact with his family, a source said.
“I’ve seen lots of instances of parents riding their kid’s coattails around,” an NHL executive familiar with the case said. “I’ve never seen a case as ugly as this one, where the parents took such advantage of their kid.”
It got to the point where Johnson’s paychecks were being consumed before he even received them, but Johnson was reportedly initially unaware of what his parents were doing. In 2011, his parents took out a loan of $1.56 million with a 12% interest rate against Johnson’s contract and used that money to buy a Manhattan Beach home near their son. Johnson thought his parents got the money from the will of a deceased relative, according to a Dispatch source. That’s just one example of the loans that were taken out on his behalf and it wasn’t even the single biggest loan.
Blue Jackets president John Davidson knows about Johnson’s situation and said the team is with him as he gets through this.