NEW YORK—Gawker founder Nick Denton will file for personal bankruptcy in order to protect himself from Hulk Hogan’s $140 million sex tape judgment, according to published reports Monday.
The move comes on the heels of an Appeals Court in Lakeland, Fla., denying Denton's request for an order to stop Hogan from collecting while he appeals the decision, the New York Post reported.
Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June, allowing the company to avoid having its assets seized during the appeal. Judge Pamela Campbell said Friday Denton "misled" the court about the value of his company and punished him by ruling that Hogan could start seizing his assets, the report said.
Denton told Campbell in June that Gawker Media Group was worth $276 million. He didn’t have the cash to post the $50 million bond required to appeal the verdict, so he offered his stock in Gawker instead. Denton also told the court that his 30 percent stake in Gawker was worth $81 million, but after Campbell had agreed to the offer she later learned that his stock was worth closer to $30 million.
“Mr Denton…misled this court in connection with [his] pledge of Gawker Media Group, Inc. stock by concealing material information about the value of that stock which a reasonable person, under the circumstances, should have disclosed,” Campbell says in the order.
A jury awarded Hogan more than $140M in damages for invasion of privacy and emotional distress over the publication of a sex tape in 2012 that showed him with his former friend’s wife.
Denton must personally pay $10 million of the punitive damages.