Developer Gary Bradley
insists he's broke, but a Travis Co. judge this week refused to reduce his child-support payments of $4,800 per month. The ruling could strongly influence his bankruptcy case, in which Bradley is trying to win a discharge of his debts, specifically the millions of dollars -- estimated between $70 and $100 million -- he owes the federal government on failed bank loans, and another $4 million due in unpaid taxes. The prevailing theory among those on the opposite side of Bradley's legal and financial battles is that while his personal bank account may be modest, he nevertheless has had ready access to funds through various entities controlled by family members and close friends. A ruling in the bankruptcy case, expected in mid-October, may turn on the mysterious Lazarus Exempt Trust
, which Bradley's sister established and controls with Bradley as the sole beneficiary. The trust owns prime undeveloped property at Circle C Ranch in Southwest Austin. Bradley's bankruptcy filings show he owes the trust more than $273,000.
Beyond his legal troubles, however, Bradley is apparently still doing what he does best -- brokering land deals. Simon Property Group, the world's biggest mall developer, is talking to Bradley about the possibility of developing a mall near Buda -- "on property that Mr. Bradley controls," Tom Schneider, a senior VP at Simon, told "Naked City" this week. Schneider said that while Simon decided against entering into a 50-50 partnership with a Bradley-related entity on a combined residential/mall development, the company is still interested in developing a portion of the land. Schneider said Simon will make an announcement soon pertaining to its future development activities in Austin, but he would not elaborate. Bradley did not return a phone call seeking comment.