David Adkins, the comedian known as Sinbad, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in May, claiming $11 million in debt, the vast majority of which is tax debt. According to documents cited by AccountingWEB, the 56-year-old performer owes over $8 million to the IRS and another $2.3 million to California taxing authorities. He also reportedly owes $32,000 to Bank of America and some $375,000 to American Express.
Were those debts the result of a recklessly lavish lifestyle? In recent interviews with Oprah Winfrey and the Huffington Post, the comedian said absolutely not. The debts to the two banks are for business expenses, such as facilities, payroll and equipment for his company. He paid business debts out of his own pocket during hard times, he explained, in anticipation that new projects would soon come along to refill the company’s bank account, and his own.
"I spent money, and I kept thinking, 'I get one more movie and I'll wipe these bills out,' but that movie never came," he told a HuffPost Live reporter.
As is the case with many people who file for bankruptcy, some commenters have assumed that the entertainer wasted his money. Far from being a living stereotype of celebrity however, Sinbad says, his lifestyle is relatively ordinary.
"Have you ever seen me in a Bentley? Have you ever seen Sinbad with a big chain?" he asked the HuffPost. "This is the same jewelry I've been wearing,” he pointed out, indicating his accessories. “This is a present. This is my wedding ring. This is the same cross."
According to his bankruptcy filing, the comedian has an income of around $16,000 per month and assets worth about $131,000, including equipment for his home office and four cars. The cars are a 2007 BMW 750i, a 2006 VW Beetle, a 2010 Ford F150 and a 2010 Lincoln Navigator.
This isn’t the performer’s first attempt at bankruptcy. In 2009, he filed for Chapter 7 protection but his case was dismissed because he didn’t include all of the correct documents in his filing. This Chapter 13 will reorganize his debts into an affordable payment plan with minimal penalties and fees, which could last between three and five years. At the end of a successful repayment plan, any remaining dischargeable debt will be considered repaid.
- Huffington Post, "Sinbad On Going Bankrupt: I Thought I Could Get Another Movie And Pay Up, 'But That Movie Never Came' (VIDEO)," Aug. 22, 2013
- AccountingWEB, "Sinbad's Mountain of Tax Debt: It Ain't So Funny," Teresa Ambord, June 17, 2013