The fall of Donny Lalonde
Since retiring from boxing in 2003, former WBC light heavyweight titlist Donny Lalonde has been involved in myriad business opportunities, some good and some not so good.
He first spent his time trying to raise awareness for the prevention of child abuse. Unfortunately, at the time, the Canadian government failed to get behind the project, leaving Lalonde let down.
“I stepped away from that after a while but did accomplish a lot in that realm,” Lalonde told RingTV.com, “so I was happy I carried that torch for a while.”
Sadly, despite initially being financially set for life, much of his career earnings have been spent on ill-advised ventures.
“Since retiring, foolishly I got into business,” he said lamenting his decisions. “If I was smart, I would have left my money with the awesome money manager Richie Vaccarello that (Lalonde’s boxing manager) Dave Wolfe put me with in New York. Richie Vaccarello was doing a brilliant job of managing my funds, he had me on a crazy high monthly budget.
“But when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired, he found out his money manager had lost or stolen his life savings or something like that. I read it in a paper. (Editor’s note: Abdul-Jabbar was still an active NBA star when he discovered mismanagement of his funds by business manager Tom Collins in 1986.) He ended up going back to work as a school teacher for not much per year, is what I read. I felt it was best for me to take my money and do real estate business, which was great. I did well in it until my assets were frozen in a tax dispute with our tax authorities in Canada. That lead to a bankruptcy which destroyed our life for a while.”
Lalonde says he freely doled out money to whoever needed or wanted money during this time.
“Revenue Canada did not feel it fair I write off those loans against earnings, which caused the basis for a claim by them,” he explained. “I made a lot of money in real estate in Canada and Costa Rica but, mainly, I did a bad job of managing it after it was earned. Imagine that for someone with a Grade 9 education!”
It was a bad time for Lalonde; he lost everything and his family suffered.
“Had I just left it with Richie and lived from the earnings, I would be super wealthy today,” he said. “My family and I would not have suffered like we have but we are, and always have been, together. We grew through it all and are very close.”
Post-boxing, Lalonde says life is good, other than the economic challenges that he has faced.
Having initially lived in Vancouver Island and then Costa Rica, he currently resides in Malta, in Europe.
Lalonde believes some former investors are still using his name and trying to justify the losses by slandering and defaming him.
“That is an annoyance but, in time, the truth of all that will come to surface and I will be vindicated,” he said. “That sucks. Life is too short for wasting it on silly things like that.”
Recently, Lalonde was interviewed about these matters and now he hopes to develop a life enhancement platform, that will feature his own experiences, both positive and negative, in the hope he can help others avoid the same pitfalls that befell him. He is also currently penning his life story.
Stay tuned for a “Best I Faced” featuring Lalonde.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright.