Todd Chrisley plays it pretty close to the vest as it pertains to his net worth and the specifics of his financial status. One thing is clear, however: Chrisley rose from humble beginnings to become a self-made multimillionaire – though not without setbacks, including bankruptcy – and poster boy for how the wealthy live. He has built a business, Chrisley & Company, that dabbles in media, retail, entertainment and asset management. He currently runs this business while also filming a reality TV show, "Chrisley Knows Best," which is based on his family and airs on USA Network.
Early Life and Education
Todd Chrisley was born in Georgia and spent most of his childhood in Westminster, South Carolina. His family lived a simple, small-town life. Chrisley states that one of his fondest childhood memories is that of he and his brother jumping on their bicycles and riding as far as they could go. (Interestingly, Chrisley, consistent with his iron-fist parenting style as displayed on his reality show, now believes it is unsafe for his own children to ride bicycles alone.)
Chrisley has no higher education listed in his biography. This meshes with his oft-repeated claim that he built what he has from the ground up on nothing but hard work and a vision. Three of his children, however, are either in college or have graduated from college.
The Bankrupt Millionaire
While Chrisley is certainly verbose about the fact he is financially successful, he is notoriously less open about the specifics of that success. In fact, the source for most of the known details of his business and how he made his money where most of these details come from is somewhat surprising for a man who is famous for his wealth: a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing from 2012.
The filing involved the now-defunct Chrisley Asset Management (CAM), a real estate owned (REO) management company headquartered in Atlanta and operating as a registered corporation in a number of states, including Florida, California, Texas, Nevada and New York. Essentially, the company managed and liquidated repossessed real estate properties for financial institutions; it would recover and renovate nonperforming assets – mainly, distressed and/or foreclosed-upon residences – and then sell them to reap a profit. Reports conflict as to when CAM was founded, with dates given variously as 2002, 2007 and 2008 (this may reflect the degree to which it was a spinoff of another of Chrisley's ventures, Executive Asset Management LLC, which operated from 2004 until 2008).
When the housing market collapsed in 2008, CAM's operations obviously became more difficult, though Chrisley's attorneys claim that a single bad real estate venture – causing a default on a $30 million loan he had guaranteed – resulted in the insurmountable debt that forced him into bankruptcy. Probably, though, the main reason for the company's failure was the loss of its contract with Fannie Mae in 2012. The contract was not renewed when Chrisley and a partner were involved in a dispute that went to court.
Chrisley filed for personal bankruptcy in 2012; CAM for corporate bankruptcy in 2013. In his bankruptcy filing, Chrisley claimed to have a mere $100 in cash, $4.2 million in total assets and nearly $49 million of debt.
During the bankruptcy proceedings for the company, it came to light that Julie Chrisley, Todd Chrisley’s second wife, was on the receiving end of over $700,000 in transfers from the corporate accounts of CAM. Julie, a former beauty-pageant winner, has a separate personal net worth of $3 million, and reportedly is funding the family after the corporate and personal bankruptcy of Todd. Julie was also reportedly the head of CAM during the bankruptcy proceedings.
The case was put on hold with a tolling agreement for many months, but was finally settled in 2015 (though it has been reported that Chrisley has yet to make all the final agreed-upon payments).
Whatever Happened to the CAM Team?
Blake Sanders was a senior asset manager at CAM from 2006 until 2008, supporting the notion that the company was started earlier than its multi-state corporate registrations. Sanders attended Georgia State University specializing in real estate courses, and is currently (as of February 2017) director of Investment Management Group for Invitation Homes in the greater Atlanta area. The company is involved in acquiring homes from owners in financial distress and then transferring the properties into the rental market.
Bailey Smith was also part of the team at CAM, first as an asset manager and then as a team manager from 2008 to 2012. Smith supervised employees for the Fannie Mae team for properties in a number of states. Currently, the Georgia-based Smith works for iCapital Mortgage as a mortgage broker for homebuyers.
Four other employees have launched sexual harassment suits against Todd. A case in 2009 was dismissed by the court as not having enough evidence. In 2010, three more female employees came forward describing a sexually hostile work environment; however, the case was settled out of court.
The TV Show
Even as CAM was filing for bankruptcy, Chrisley was engineering a television program to showcase the life of his family, a lavishly living Southern clan consisting of his Miss Universe wife, Julie Chrisley, and five children (and now grandchildren). Premiering in 2014, the reality TV show follows the family through various trials and tribulations; Todd rules with an iron fist, often to inadvertently comedic results.
It was reported in January 2016 that Todd signed a singer/songwriter deal with Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI). True to his word, in November of that same year, he released his first and only LP, A Christley Christmas. The fact this real estate investment manager is now acting and singing may be a better indictment of his entrepreneurial ability than anything else.
Chrisley emerged from the bankruptcy proceedings relatively unscathed, and he clearly did not even have to scale back much on his lifestyle, as evidenced by "Chrisley Knows Best." But his exact net worth remains difficult to pinpoint. Based on the bankruptcy proceedings, it could be as low as -$46 million. However, he reportedly still lived in a mansion valued at over $2 million as late as 2014 (he and the family have relocated since), and – in promos for the show – claimed the clan spent over $300,000 annually on clothing. Speculation exists that he successfully hid assets in his wife's name throughout the bankruptcy proceedings and never was as destitute as he led the trustees to believe.
Chrisley's Most Influential Quotes
- "Perfect is something you should strive to be." Chrisley is a micromanager, not only in the office with his employees but also at home with his wife and children. He demands flawless or near-flawless performance at all times.
- "We don't have to agree. If I don't like it, that's all that matters." Unabashed in his high opinion of his own opinions, Chrisley is the antithesis of the 21st-century boss who maintains an open-door policy and welcomes input from employees all the way down the corporate ladder. In fact, he tolerates little dissension from others.