Kinkade $9M in Debt When He Died

'Painter of light' had legal, personal troubles
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2012 10:14 AM CDT
Kinkade $9M in Debt When He Died
In this Sept. 15, 2006 file photo, artist Thomas Kinkade unveils his painting, "Prayer For Peace," at the opening of the exhibit "From Abraham to Jesus," in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Gene Blythe, File)

Thomas Kinkade was known as the "Painter of Light," but the last few years of his life seem to have been fairly dark: The Daily reports that Kinkade owed about $9 million to at least 165 creditors when he died. Claims range from the huge ($2.4 million from a decade-old dispute with two former gallery owners, $40,000 in back taxes) to the tiny ($125 owed to a computer and toner supply company) and also include the fairly bizarre ($2,251 to … Arrowhead Mountain spring water?). His bankrupt distribution arm, once worth $145 million, was down to $1.4 million in cash and $6.5 million in assets last April.

A bankruptcy reorganization agreement required Kinkade to continue releasing images, whose proceeds would go to creditors. Now, proceeds from rapidly increasing sales after Kinkade's death will do that instead, and court documents also hint that unreleased work may also exist. The Huffington Post and The Stir recall Kinkade's troubled past few years, including accusations of inappropriate behavior with women and urinating on a Winnie the Pooh statue at Disneyland, allegations of defrauding investors and other business and legal troubles, a separation from his wife, and a DUI. Kinkade had owned up to some poor behavior in 2006, blaming stress for his problems with alcohol and overeating. (More Thomas Kinkade stories.)

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