I am sure former state school chief Kathy Cox is relieved to have this settled, but I wish all her winnings from becoming the first grand prize winner on the game show “Are You Smarter than a 5TH Grader?” could have gone to education, as she wanted.
Instead, the three schools Cox designated will get half of her million dollar first prize, and her husband’s creditors will get the other.
Three months after Cox won the show in 2008, builder John Cox, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, a victim of the housing market collapse. The state Board of Education argued that the superintendent would not have been invited to the program other than in a position of playing for a charitable interest and the the money should go to the schools.
Three schools for blind and deaf children will receive half of the $1 million won on a TV show by former state schools Superintendent Kathy Cox, under a recently proposed court settlement.
A legal tug-of-war over the prize winnings has been going on for more than a year in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy case filed by Cox and her husband, John Cox, a home builder.
In September 2008, Cox appeared on the game show, “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” and aced it, winning the $1 million prize. Cox had said if she won, she would give her winnings to the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon, the Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Spring and the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf in Clarkston.
All three schools, while state-run, do not rely on local funding. Cox said she wanted the money to help build nest eggs for scholarships.
Two months after the game show appearance, the Coxes filed for bankruptcy protection, citing more than $3.5 million in liabilities and less than $650,000 in assets. Last year, Gary W. Brown, the Chapter 7 trustee, filed suit seeking to claim the $1 million for the Coxes’ creditors.
Since February, the money has been deposited into the registry of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in an interest-bearing account. Under the proposed settlement, the interest earned from the winnings also would be split in half.
The proposed settlement must ultimately be approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge W. Homer Drake in Newnan. All parties and creditors in the case had to file a response to the court by today if they had an objection.