Todd Chrisley has never shied away from talking about his money.
In his new reality show, Chrisley Knows Best, cameras follow the businessman, who lives in a lavish 30,000-sq.-ft. Atlanta mansion with his wife and five children. (Think the Kardashians with Southern drawls.)
“In a year, we sometimes spend $300,000 or more, just on clothing,” he says in one promo for the show, which premieres on March 11 on the USA Network.
But behind the fancy cars and glitzy shopping sprees, Chrisley’s financial situation has been precarious for years.
Bankruptcy documents show outrageous spending and spiraling debt. After several lawsuits and judgments against Chrisley in the past decade, he finally filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in August 2012.
Although he listed more than $4.2 million in assets, his debts totaled a whopping $49.4 million.
Steep Debts and Limited Assets
After a large business investment went bad, Chrisley found himself in a financial hole.
“He guaranteed a real estate development loan and it failed,” his attorney, Robert Furr, tells PEOPLE. “He was on the hook for $30 million. If he hadn’t had that happen, he would have been fine, financially.”
But along with the business debt, Chrisley had mortgages totaling $12 million, a delinquent IRS bill for $595,227.98 and even a $4.4 million loan from his wife, Julie – who happens to be a former Miss Carolina.
“She is well-off,” says Furr. “She has her own money. This is money that she lent him over the years for his business. It’s as simple as that.”
In the court filing, Chrisley claimed to have only $55 in a checking account and $100 in cash. The remainder of his assets consisted of $4.2 million in real estate.
A Suspicious Trustee
Although the bankruptcy was filed 19 months ago, the newly court-appointed trustee grew suspicious of the Chrisley bankruptcy filing and began to investigate whether the couple were hiding any wealth.
In a complaint filed last month, the trustee, Jason Pettie, alleged that Chrisley transferred some of his wealth to Julie to protect his assets.
“Neither [Chrisley nor his wife, Julie] has been employed since 2012,” Pettie wrote. “However, they continue to live in lavish residences, drive expensive vehicles and travel extensively. ”
Chrisley’s lawyer says he has nothing to hide. “He has cooperated fully,” says Furr. “He has been totally honest and forthright. He is not hiding assets.”
Also at issue: the clothes on Chrisley’s back. In his bankruptcy filing, he claimed that his clothes were worth $650. The trustee pulled his receipts from American Express, Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue to show that he had spent thousands on clothing.
“He frequently made high-end clothing and accessory purchases,” claimed the trustee.
But Chrisley’s lawyer calls the claim overblown.
“There are procedural aspects regarding the value of certain personal property that he owns,” says Furr. “We’ll have the clothes appraised. But I go on eBay, and used designer clothes don’t sell for much. These are used clothes.”
Because the matter is still ongoing in the courts, “Todd is obligated not to discuss” the case, his publicist tells PEOPLE.
A network spokesperson said, “USA has no comment.”