Don Johnson Money Trouble

Company owned by former Miami Vice star files for bankruptcy to protect Johnson's Colorado ranch

By Lia Haberman Apr 26, 2004 7:30 PMTags

From $8 billion to bankrupt: Don Johnson's money woes have made headlines...again.

The actor, who was ultimately cleared in a potential money-laundering investigation last year, has filed for bankruptcy on one of his companies.

According to published reports, the move was meant to save his Pitkin County, Colorado, ranch from being sold at auction (and you thought he'd squandered it all on pastel suits and penny loafers).

Timber Doodle Glade Equity Venture LLC, a company masterminded by the former Miami Vice star, filed for Chapter 11 on April 14 in Denver Bankruptcy Court, the Rocky Mountain News reported over the weekend.

Johnson's bankruptcy attorney, Lee Kutner, told the paper Friday that Timber Doodle is one of two entities that hold title to the Woody Creek property that Johnson purchased from Aspen socialite Terry Butler in 1987, which includes 13 acres of land, a main residence and three guest houses.

Sonny Crockett's alter ego filed for bankruptcy after the City National Bank of Los Angeles filed a lawsuit in Pitkin County in March asking the court for permission to auction off the ranch to collect $930,000 Johnson owes the bank.

A Los Angeles County Court judge ruled in September that Johnson owed the bank $921,891 and $21,891 in legal fees.

Seeking to downplay the stain of bankruptcy, Johnson's publicist, Elliot Mintz, said his client was simply in the process of refinancing the ranch and needed to file for bankruptcy just to buy some time from creditors.

"The words sale or foreclosure have not entered into the discussions," Mintz, who described the property as "paradise," told the Rocky Mountain News.

Former owner Butler, who sold the ranch to Johnson 16 years ago, estimated the property's value at $10 million. It has become the thesp's primary home--he rents a second residence in Los Angeles.

Just last year, it appeared the erstwhile Nash Bridges star was suffering from a surplus of cash when German customs officials uncovered financial documents showing $8 billion in assets in a car driven by the actor over the Swiss-German border.

Johnson, who was allegedly on a Mercedes-Benz shopping expedition, maintained that the bank notes belonged to another passenger and were to be used to help secure financial backing for a potential movie deal.

Authorities later validated this claim and apologized to Johnson for leaking the story to the media.