Latest News 2012 October Gold Medalist Files Bankruptcy, Auction of Belongings Looms

Gold Medalist Files Bankruptcy, Auction of Belongings Looms

The Associated Press, and others, have reported that a former Olympian has had to file for bankruptcy due to the "fraud" of a business associate, and is now facing an auction of his most prized possessions.

Rulon Gardner, one of the most decorated wrestlers and an Olympic gold medalist, has spent several years since achieving fame trying to succeed with a profitable business.

According to court records Gardner owed almost $3 million to a major creditor while his monthly household income is $37,392.

The bankruptcy protection filing was made on August 31.

Gardner claims that the debt is in dispute and is due to a business associate that he cosigned a loan for – to open a hot-spring resort in Afton, Wyo. – that turned out to be "nothing but a complete fraud."

His former business partner in the resort development is now in federal prison for fraud. Gardner claims to have lost $400,000 in the scheme and the creditor is going after Gardner alone for the debt.

On September 18 Gardner told reporters, "I got taken advantage of, and now I've got to pay the price. I'm trying to make it right."

The creditor is WestCoast Lending Group Inc. A call from reporters seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Bankruptcy trustee, David L. Miller, said that Gardner will be able to speak for himself about the debt at the deposition scheduled later in October.

However, before the end of October, the Salt Lake City auction house Erkelens & Olson will begin to sell a majority of his expensive possessions. Included in the auction are Gardner's Ford Excursion SUV, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, several watches and knives, his wrestling shoes and various autographed memorabilia.

Also on the list to sell: Gardner's Olympic gold medal. The medal was not found in the home and, according to Cache County Deputy Sheriff B.S., Gardner told them that it had been stolen.

Another item that was listed for sale but not found was Gardner's Jeep. Deputies went though Gardner's Wellsville home on August 15 – but the jeep did not turn up.

Gardner is hoping to stop the auction. He said, "I'm offering to buy the stuff back, but my money is tied up in a lot of businesses. I don't have all this money people think Olympic athletes have."

Chad Shattuck is the attorney representing Gardner in the bankruptcy. He declined to comment on the case.

Gardner beat then-existing Olympic champion, Alexander Karelin of Russia, in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In 2001 Gardner won the world title.

A year ago Gardner appeared on "The Biggest Loser", a reality TV show for celebrities trying to loose weight. Gardner was 474 pounds when he joined the show and wanted to loose some of his weight for a comeback in the London Olympics.

Gardner's friends said the TV show's competition affected his health.

Also in 2011 Gardner invested $1 million in a gym that opened in Logan, near his home in Wellsville.

If you are considering a business or personal bankruptcy, contact a bankruptcy attorney to help you with your filing and protect as many of your assets as possible.