Judge approves settlement in Donnan bankruptcy

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- A federal bankruptcy judge has approved a settlement plan in the case of former University of Georgia football coach Jim Donnan.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports the judge on Thursday approved the plan after Donnan's creditors unanimously agreed to it. The creditors claimed Donnan and his wife owe them more than $40 million. The exact amount they'll receive won't be known until a court-appointed trustee liquidates most of Donnan's assets.

Donnan was a major and early investor in GLC Limited, a West Virginia company, and promised investors payouts of 50 to 70 percent annually, but that didn't happen. The company says Donnan profited from his investments and charged commissions for recruiting other investors.

Unable to keep pace with the promised payouts, GLC filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011, and Donnan soon did likewise.

In court filings, GLC's owners accused Donnan of playing an active role in the creation and maintenance of the scheme that drove the company into bankruptcy. Donnan has insisted he was not a part of any scheme. He has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

A federal judge in Ohio, where GLC is being restructured in bankruptcy court, has approved the settlement.

"I believe they are trying to do the right thing," said GLC lawyer Hayden Kepner. "It was always his idea to pay back as much as he could."

Donnan's lawyers said the ruling should end months of bitter proceedings.

"It is the hope of the Donnan family that their efforts to resolve this case will put an end to most, if not all, of the contentious litigation that has surrounded it," they said in a news release. "This is a significant step in that process."

Creditors will be able to filed claims against Donnan for 80 percent of the Monday they invested in GLC, but they will likely get only a fraction of their claims.

Donnan was UGA's football coach in the late 1990s, posting a 40-19 record, and later worked as an ESPN football analyst.