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Knights' Robin Lehner sued for millions before filing for bankruptcy

Lehner bought a collection of snakes in 2017 from world-renowned reptile breeder Ben Renick, who was later murdered by his wife.

Robin Lehner has been sidelined all season after undergoing hip surgery during the summer.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
Robin Lehner has been sidelined all season after undergoing hip surgery during the summer. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner was sued for nearly $4 million just months before he and his wife Donya filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Lehner estimates his assets to be worth between $1-10 million while his liability to creditors is between $10-50 million, according to the public filing.

Among the companies Lehner allegedly owes money to, according to the LVRJ, are "multiple entries" located in several states under different versions of a company called Solarcode, as well as a Wisconsin company, Eclipse Service Inc., — with the latter reportedly suing the former last June over the failure to repay a loan they provided to Lehner and his father Michael.

Last Friday, the Lehners requested that bankruptcy hearings be delayed until Feb. 3 while they gather their financial statements, saying they owe money to fewer than 50 people or companies while estimating their assets were worth between $1 million to $10 million.

Eclipse also reportedly subpoenaed Lehner's NHL team, the Golden Knights, for records on Robin Lehner’s physical and mental health as part of the suit. Lehner moved to block that request, claiming there were less intrusive ways to collect that information while noting that his personal health isn't pertinent to the lawsuit

Back in 2017, Lehner bought a collection of snakes for $1.2 million from world-renowned reptile breeder Ben Renick, setting up a payment plan with quarterly instalments of $200,000.

According to Missouri-based news station KMIZ, a lawsuit was filed by Renick Reptiles in 2018 after Renick’s wife Lynlee murdered him and Lehner stopped issuing payments for the snakes. Charles Thal, a Missouri businessman, took over Ben Renick's estate and is listed as the registered owner of Renick Reptiles. Lehner then countersued, claiming that maintenance costs and uncontrolled breeding amongst snakes lowered their value.

As the legal battle continued, the company later claimed that Lehner “stole a collection of anacondas [from] Renick Reptiles’ place of business (as well as taking the collection of ball pythons that Lehner refused to pay for).” The suit was settled in November 2019 and RL Exotics LLC has been operating ever since.

The Golden Knights along with Black Knight Sports & Entertainment, the National Hockey League, Newport Sports Management, and Sure Sports Lending have all been officially listed as parties interested in the Lehners’ bankruptcy.

Sure Sports Lending is an agency that specializes “in low-interest, unsecured loans and contract advances to Professional Athletes in the NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, NHL, and MLS based on their player contracts.” They are no strangers to controversy, having also been involved in Evander Kane’s bankruptcy filing in 2021.

Lehner is expected to miss the remainder of the 2022-23 season after undergoing hip surgery during the offseason. The 31-year-old has two years remaining on his contract, which carries a cap hit of $5 million annually.

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