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Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection sought by Hollywood star

If anyone needs any more proof that the Great Recession has affected all income levels across New Jersey and throughout the country, perhaps it came this past week with news that Hollywood star Gary Busey has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The long-time actor, once nominated for an Oscar for his starring role in "The Buddy Holly Story," filed a Chapter 7 petition on Feb. 7. The 67-year-old actor has listed assets of less than $50,000 against debts totaling up to $1 million. Among the creditors listed were the UCLA Medical Center and the Internal Revenue Service. Additionally, Busey listed a claim filed against him by a woman who accused him of assaulting her in May 2011.

Busey is far from the first well-known person to seek Chapter 7 relief. Individuals generally have a choice between filing for Chapter 13 reorganization or straight bankruptcy liquidation by opting for Chapter 7 protection. The wide disparity between the actor's stated assets and his outstanding liabilities may explain why he apparently chose to file for Chapter 7.

In such proceedings, a trustee is typically appointed by the court to process the matter under its supervision. Assuming that the relevant law and procedure is followed, Busey will likely be able to look forward to a date when he can emerge from bankruptcy. Once that occurs, he will be able to look forward to a return to prosperity absent many of the obligations that had spiraled out of control. Given the financial calamity that many have faced as a result of the ongoing economic crisis in New Jersey and nationally, there is no shame in taking advantage of laws designed to help individuals and families recover from circumstances beyond their control.

Source: New York Daily News, "Gary Busey files for bankruptcy," Feb. 8, 2012

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