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Jerry Lee Lewis Files Bankruptcy Petition

November 9, 1988 GMT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Rock pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis filed a personal bankruptcy petition listing more than $3 million in debts, including $2 million owed to the Internal Revenue Service, court records show.

Lewis filed the petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday. It lists 22 creditors seeking more than $3 million, including hospital fees.

The 53-year-old rock pianist and singer has had his ups and downs with the IRS and health problems for more than 10 years.

Lewis listed his address as being in Nesbit, Miss., which is nearly 10 miles south of Memphis.


Debts listed in the petition include:

- About $950,000 to George Cunningham and The Whiskey River Club in Nashville.

- ″Alleged attorney fees″ of $40,000 to Memphis lawyer Irving Salky.

- $15,500 to Doctors Hospital in Memphis, now known as Eastwood Hospital.

- $10,000 to St. Francis Hospital in Memphis.

- $3,000 to Baptist Hospital in Memphis.

- $5,000 to Memphis lawyer Marvin Ratner.

- $119 to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.

Other debts include lease payments for a Cadillac and a Corvette, possible state income taxes in Mississippi and court costs in Shelby County, Nashville, and St. Louis.

The performer’s life is the subject of the movie ″Great Balls of Fire″ starring Dennis Quaid as Lewis. The movie, which is being shot in Memphis, deals with a 1 1/2 -year period of the entertainer’s life from late 1956 to late 1958. It does not deal with the lawsuits and health problems of the last few years of his life.

In 1984, Lewis was found innocent of evading taxes, but the verdict didn’t lessen his tax liability. The next year, IRS agents seized property from Lewis’ ranch near Nesbit. They took at least two cars, a jet ski and a mechanical bucking bull.

More than 60 personal items were taken from Lewis in 1979 to satisfy a $274,000 tax debt. The property included several automobiles, a tractor, five motorcycles, jewelry, musical instruments, home entertainment equipment and firearms.

An auction of property was held in 1980, but only 150 potential bidders showed up. The auction produced only $91,382, less than a third of the debt.