Bradley Bonks

News that Gary Bradley had declared bankruptcy hit the front pages of the American-Statesman and the Austin Business Journal this week, bearing out what many Bradley watchers had been predicting all along: It was just a matter of time (nearly a decade, in this instance) before the developer would file the necessary paperwork to get a host of creditors off his back. Bradley filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, which would essentially wipe out most of his debts, possibly in exchange for some of his assets. Bradley reportedly has $100 million in debts, compared to $100,000 to $500,000 in assets. But it was business as usual this week at Bradley's office on West 11th Street. At press time, his secretary said he was wrapped up in meetings and unable to return our phone call. Bradley is one of Austin's most controversial characters, with many of his headline-grabbing escapades stemming from his Circle C Ranch development in Southwest Austin. He still owes the federal government $53 million for loans he got to build Circle C, but never repaid. (Taxpayers tidied up that mess.) In an interview with the Austin Business Journal, which broke the story last Friday, Bradley blamed his bankruptcy on a series of bad breaks: a key real estate deal that tanked, a well-publicized child-support dispute with his former wife, and the collapse of a toll road project. The most crushing blow, he said, was delivered by Simon Property Group, which decided against pursuing a shopping mall project on Bradley property in far South Austin.

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