After a year of battling it out in bankruptcy court over his songwriting copyrights, former Kiss guitarist Vinnie “Wiz” Vincent, lost his bankruptcy appeal, giving his former band mates the right to sell his Kiss songwriting copyrights so that they can receive payment on a judgment they won against Vinnie. The judgment was in the amount of $82,000 and is the result of attorneys’ fees due to Kiss members Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and others after Vincent unsuccessfully sued them for unpaid royalties and defamation. The band mates will now be able to sale the copyrights to songs such as “Lick It Up” and “Young and Wasted.” Vinnie’s bankruptcy attorney argued that handing over the copyrights to the plaintiffs in this case would effectively leave the former Kiss guitarist destitute; but that assertion did not sway the bankruptcy court.
A three-judge bankruptcy panel for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a ruling by a Tennessee bankruptcy judge that Vincent filed his most recent bankruptcy – his third Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing in three years – in bad faith and barred him from seeking Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection for two years.
“We cannot excuse a lack of good faith based on debtor’s pro se status, particularly when the debtor was in fact represented by counsel or had retained counsel during the vast majority of his time in the bankruptcy court but failed to follow counsel’s advice,” the panel said in court papers.
The court’s statement about this case reveals once again the dangers of being pro se in bankruptcy and of ignoring the advice of seasoned bankruptcy attorneys. Most bankruptcy cases are too complex to be effectively handled pro se; but a bankruptcy case for someone like Vinnie “Wiz” Vincent can be even more complex and requires the expertise of someone who understands the ins and outs of the system.