Gawker founder Nick Denton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, after being hit with a multi-million dollar verdict over the publication of sex-tape footage featuring pro wrestler Hulk Hogan.
A filing obtained by TheWrap indicates that Denton estimates that his liabilities are in the range of just over $100 million to $500 million.
Denton’s biggest creditor by far is Hogan, real name Terry Bollea, thanks to a $125 million litigation judgment, which Denton’s filing notes is pending appeal.
Denton’s filing also lists a $100 million debt to attorney Meanith Huon, also attributed to litigation.
In a statement provided to TheWrap, Bollea’s attorney, David Houston, said, “Following a lengthy trial, a jury verdict and much legal maneuvering, the time has come for Nick Denton to accept responsibility for the decisions he made and the rewards he reaped based on the suffering and humiliation of others. Mr. Denton has spent vast amounts of time and money attempting to dodge his responsibility and a judge has subsequently determined that he misled the court in these efforts.”
Houston added, “The Appellate court, in which he has guaranteed victory over Mr. Bollea, is not the puppet he thought it would be. His bankruptcy has nothing to do with who paid Mr. Bollea’s legal bills, and everything to do with Denton’s own choices and accountability. If even one person has been spared the humiliation that Mr. Bollea suffered, this is a victory.”
In March, a jury awarded Bollea a total of $140 million, after Gawker published portions of a sex tape featuring the wrestler and the then-wife of his close friend, Todd “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem. After awarding Bollea $115 million in damages, a jury tacked on another $25 million in punitive damages.
The jury determined that Hogan (real name: Terry Bollea) had suffered emotional distress from the 2012 publication of sex-tape footage featuring the wrestler, and also had suffered an invasion of his privacy.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.