When Duerson filed for personal bankruptcy in September, he showed liabilities of $14.7 million, and his only real asset was a $34.6 million federal court judgment that his food company had won in 2004. Duerson never collected it because the freezer supplier that owed him the money filed for bankruptcy in April 2005.
Duerson's attorney, Zach Shelomith, said he believes Duerson's failure to collect the judgment played a "substantial" role in his filing for bankruptcy.
In 2008, Duerson was hired to be president of a division of Archibald Frozen Desserts that would serve fast food restaurants. His hiring failed to boost sales, and Duerson was out after less than a year, according to Archibald chief executive Ed Meyer.
Duerson started selling assets. In November 2008, he sold a Rolex watch for $4,500 to Davie Pawn in Davie, Fla. Last June and July, he sold a 2001 Mercedes C320 with 55,843 miles for $8,000, a 2001 Harley-Davidson motorcycle with 1,284 miles for $6,000. He also sold a wedding ring for $1,200 to a jewelry exchange in Aventura, Fla.
Duerson's bankruptcy filing listed his year-to-date income from employment as $16,800, and his monthly expenses were exceeding his monthly income. In 2009, he claimed that he lost $5,100 from running his business. In 2008, his income from employment was $45,249, according to the filing.
On the bankruptcy petition, Duerson estimated the value of DD Favor, which he owned solely, at $1,489, including his office furniture.
Joel Tabas, an attorney representing the bankruptcy trustee, spoke with Duerson about a month ago and said, like many people going through bankruptcy, he sounded distraught. But Duerson wasn't the typical filer, he conceded.
"For a guy who has been a Pro Bowl football player, to be going through this has got to be tough and embarrassing," Tabas said. "He sounded upset."
Despite his financial problems, Duerson had designs on launching a financial literacy program for former players with Davis, who was scheduled to join Duerson in talking to NFL alumni in March.
Duerson ran out of funding.
"When I look back at our conversations," Davis said, "I would imagine, in an ironic way, it created a struggle within Dave to be telling people how to make money when he had so many problems that took a toll on him."
Thursday, 3:05 p.m.: Paramedics arrive at Ocean One. Ben-David brings them to Duerson's condo. They push the door open, knocking aside a chair that had been blocking the door. "Hello? Sir? Sir?" Three police officers arrive seconds later. They ask Ben-David and the two security guards to leave the floor and enter Duerson's unit, guns drawn.
Inside the condominium, a still body lies on a bed. A bronze trophy for the 1987 Walter Payton Man of the Year sits on a coffee table.
And there are notes. Several notes.
The notes are not addressed to anyone specifically, but they provide Duerson's family with everything they need to know. Where to find important documents. Financial information. Specific instructions about his wishes.
Veterans of the police departments who responded to the call and have been to many similar scenes never had encountered a suicide planned and executed so meticulously.
In one of the notes, Duerson wrote about his failed business deals, about his family problems, about seeing stars, blurry vision and having difficulty spelling simple words.
And he wrote, again, that he wanted to have his brain donated to science.
Thursday, 10:20 p.m.: A body is removed from Ocean One.
The final days of Dave Duerson
Ex-Bears safety planned carefully, expressed wish to donate his brain before taking his life
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