RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Imprisoned NFL star Michael Vick will be allowed to serve the last two months of his sentence under home confinement because there is no room at a halfway house for him, a government official told The Associated Press Thursday.
Vick is serving a 23-month sentence at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., after pleading guilty to bankrolling a dogfighting operation at a home he owned in eastern Virginia's Surry County. He also admitted to participating in the killing of several underperforming dogs.
Vick's lawyers have said they expected him to be moved any day into a halfway house in Newport News. But because of a lack of space, Vick will be released instead to his home in nearby Hampton at some point on or after May 21, said the official, who has knowledge of the case but requested anonymity because the individual was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
"We are aware of reports regarding the release of Michael Vick," Vick attorneys Billy Martin and Lawrence Woodward said in a written statement. "As his attorneys we understand and respect that there is a process that the Bureau of Prisons follows therefore it is not appropriate for us comment at this time."
Vick's agent, Joel Segal, did not return messages seeking comment. Vick's mother, Brenda Boddie, said in a telephone interview that she knew nothing about the arrangements.
The Hampton house is one of four Vick still owns, according to bankruptcy court papers. He sold the Surry County property that served as headquarters for his BadNewz Kennels soon after his July 2007 indictment. The five-bedroom, 3,538-square-foot brick home with an in-ground pool in Hampton is assessed at $748,100, according to city tax records. Vick also owns an interest in a $2 million home being built in Suffolk, bankruptcy court papers show. His eight-bedroom home in suburban Atlanta is scheduled to be sold at auction March 10, with a minimum opening bid of $3.2 million.
Vick will be on electronic monitoring and will only be allowed to leave home for activities approved by his probation officer, the official said. He is eligible for release in July.
According to Vick's lawyers, the former Virginia Tech standout plans to resume his pro football career. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who suspended Vick without pay, has repeatedly said he will review Vick's status after the legal proceedings are completed. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said earlier this month that the Falcons will try to trade the contract rights on Vick to another team.
Vick, once the highest-paid player in the NFL and among its most popular, has a contract that runs to 2013 and calls for him to receive a base salary of $9 million and a bonus of $6.43 million in 2009. The remainder of the contract is worth $45.11 million, with an additional possible $3 million in Pro Bowl bonuses. Officials of some other NFL teams have said they are not interested in Vick because they would rather not face the wrath of pet lovers and groups such as PETA, which has been a constant fixture at Vick's hearings.
Vick also earned substantial sums from endorsement deals with Nike and other companies, but that income vanished after the dogfighting revelations virtually destroyed his image as well as his finances.
Vick filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, claiming assets of $16 million and liabilities of $20.4 million.