• Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas Files for Bankruptcy

    The Hooters Casino Hotel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an attempt to reorganize its debt. The filing is for the casino/hotel in Las Vegas and does not affect any of the over 430 Hooters Restaurants across the nation.

    Hotel owner 155 East Tropicana LLC released a statement to reassure Hooters patrons. “This action in no way affects the operation of more than 430 Hooters Restaurants in 44 states and 27 countries which are owned or franchised by Atlanta based Hooters of America LLC” it said on August 1, 2011.

    The corporation formed in 2004 to purchase property that would become the world’s first Hooters-themed hotel and casino. The financial struggles came as a result of the recession that has kept visitors from traveling to Las Vegas over the past few years and motivated rival hotels to slash room rates, according to the bankruptcy filing.

    115 East Tropicana “has been faced with declining hotel and casino revenues based on increased price and promotional competition, additional properties opening on the Las Vegas Strip, reduced consumer spending, a tightened credit market, and an overall weakened economy,” the company’s chief financial officer said.

    The quote from the CFO of 115 East Tropicana is a laundry list of woes, ones that illustrate how tough it is to operate a business successfully in an adverse environment. However, instead of trying to ride out the poor economy, they turned to bankruptcy as a way to save the business from complete financial ruin. Anyone who is in a similar situation on a personal level needs to take this reality to heart and file bankruptcy before it’s too late to salvage anything.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Pops Balloon Distributor

    Money issues have deflated a Chicago balloon distributor, sending the business to file for bankruptcy . The 100-year-old balloon distributor M.K. Brody & Co. consistently turns a profit, but financial pressure from different areas took the air out of the finances.

    Property taxes for the company’s headquarters located in the Fulton Market rose 74% in 2011. The warehouse holds between five to 10 million balloons at any given time. Unexpected health-care costs for 11 full-time employees also put pressure on the finances. In addition, a Detroit competitor insisted Brody pay for royalties once paid from a company that Brody recently bought out.

    Brody filed for Chapter 11 protection, utilizing a legal remedy designed to allow reorganization without too much outside pressure. Documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago list the company’s debts between $1 million and $10 million. Its assets are worth less than $1 million.

    The company, doing business as Brody’s 800-4-Balloons, distributes balloons to retailers who purchase stock in latex and foil styles.

    Owner Lee Kaufman pointed out that most balloon manufacturers are located in the U.S. Overseas competitors haven’t been able to compete. “They have a hard time in China making a balloon that can float,” he said.

    For many, bankruptcy is something that will never happen for a number of reasons. However, for those who are struggling with debt, bankruptcy is an excellent tool for rebuilding a life, literally. There is no more hassling with creditors, debt collectors and non-stop phone calls. Bankruptcy offers what is known as a fresh start, allowing all filers to rebuild their credit and lives.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Bankrupt Owner of Spiegel Brands Runs into Trouble with Bidding Procedure

    Signature Styles, owner of Spiegel Brands and other clothing companies, has run into trouble with their Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The trustee in the case told a bankruptcy judge that Signature Styles shouldn’t receive approval of its proposed bidding procedures.  Signature Styles is a division of private equity firm Patriarch Partners and was formed to purchase Spiegel Brands in 2009.

    Under the procedures, Artemiss LLC, a newly formed division of Patriarch Partners, is to become the stalking horse bidder in exchange for assumption of $30 million in debt.

    Court documents show that the official committee of unsecured creditors in the case is “gravely concerned that the sale process currently proposed by the debtors is woefully deficient, crafted solely to benefit Patriarch, provides no benefit to the debtors estates and is nothing more than half-hearted window dressing intended to cloak Patriarch’s efforts to cleanse the debtors’ balance sheet of unsecured indebtedness with the appearance of fairness and equity.”

    The committee asked the court to take an active role in the sale process by soliciting alternative sales proposals. If the court chooses a stalking horse bidder, the process moves to a 363 sale auction. Multiple parties are invited to the auction and could outbid Artemiss and buy the company.

    Artemiss wins the auction at the agreed upon price provided no other party outbids them.

    The Spiegel company originated in Chicago in 1865.

    Benjamin Brand Services  – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Las Vegas’ “Original Celebrity Chef” Files for Bankruptcy Protection

    Andre Rochat, owner of Alize’ and Andre’s in Las Vegas,  filed chapter 11 bankruptcy for himself and three businesses to reorganize millions of dollars in debt.  Rochat’s restaurant-management company, Gastronomy Management Group, is the third business included in the filing.

    Rochat’s real estate holding company, A&A, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2011.

    The bankruptcy petition shows Alize at the Palms lost $93,000 in 2010, and Andre’s at the Monte Carlo lost $290,000 in the same year. Joseph Marsco, Gastronomy’s director of operations, said that they took on too much debt while the economy tanked.

    The main issue driving the bankruptcy filings are foreclosure attempts by Plaza Bank, successor to failed SouthwestUSA Bank. Records filed with the court show that Rochat has been in litigation with Plaza Bank. The bank also claims that Rochat may be liable for any deficiency balance under his personal guarantees. Rochat and the three companies listed $2.3 million in claims held by Plaza Bank in the petitions.

    Plaza Bank objected to the sale of the site of the original Andre’s restaurant, held under A&A, Inc.

    Rochat’s personal bankruptcy filing lists liabilities of $4.25 million. Most of the amount appears to stem from personal guarantees for business debt. His personal assets total $418,000 according to the filing.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Fashionable Deb Shops File for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

    Deb Shops, a retailer of young-women’s clothing, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 27, 2011. The senior lenders are taking over operations, nearly four years after the company was purchased by Thomas Lee.

    A group of firms led by Cerberus Capital Management’s Abelco Finance unit is taking over the company through an offer known as a credit bid. Lenders convert the amount owed to them into equity via the credit bid.

    The bid from the lenders is called a stalking-horse proposal. The proposal opens up a court-supervised auction for the purchase of Deb Shops. If Abelco wins the bidding, they will close on the deal in September 2011.

    Mr. Lee’s investment firm, Lee Equity Partners, is to retain an ownership stake in Deb under the terms of the sale agreement. Lee Equity purchased Deb in July 2007 for a price tag of $395 million.

    Deb Shops and other store operators ran into financial difficulties in 2008 as the credit markets tightened and consumers slowed down their spending.

    Deb is insisting that the bankruptcy filing and subsequent sale won’t affect its day-to-day business. Current management is staying and vendors are being paid.

    Deb’s chief executive Mark Hoffman stated, “This is strictly a financial restructuring of Deb Shops business and we foresee no impact on our operations as we proceed through this process.”

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • Sex Abuse Victims of Milwaukee-Area Clergy get More Time to File Claims

    U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelly has agreed to allow survivors of clergy sex abuse more time to file claims while the Milwaukee Archdiocese is under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A forensic accountant will be hired to review the finances of the archdiocese as well.

    The agreement gives the creditors the green light to hire California-based Berkeley Research Group as a financial adviser. One of the duties of the forensic accountant is to inspect church finances to determine if the church made fraudulent transfers in an attempt to shield assets from victims of clergy sex abuse.

    All parties involved in the bankruptcy agreed to extend the bar date, the deadline for victims to file claims for compensation. The final day for filing claims is now February 1, 2012, five months past the September 15, 2011 date initially proposed by the church. The deadline for all non-sex abuse claimants remains the same.

    The specific of a national advertising campaign to alert victims to the bankruptcy and the deadline for claims has been agreed upon.

    Milwaukee Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in January 2011, saying it was the only way to compensate victims and continue the work of the church. The archdiocese has stated that they only have approximately $7 million in cash and properties available for settlement.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • Divorce Settlement Line Drives the Dodgers into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

    Owner Frank McCourt filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an answer to Major League Baseball Commissioner’s denial of a television contract. The rejection of the contract invalidated a divorce settlement between Frank and Jamie McCourt.

    Frank McCourt stated for months that the approval of the Fox television contract was crucial for the financial health of the Dodgers. Frank and Jamie McCourt have been fighting over ownership of the team. Jamie McCourt is claiming half of Frank’s assets.

    Commissioner Bud Selig is said to be aghast over a provision in the divorce settlement that diverts almost half of the immediate payment from the television contract for the benefit of the McCourts instead of for the benefit of the Dodgers.

    Selig had intentions of taking over day-to-day operations of the team if payroll for June 30, 2011, had not been paid. McCourts filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy short circuited Seligs plans and has allowed him to retain control of operations for the time being.

    A possibility exists that the MLB will file a motion to seize the Dodgers.

    Some of the outstanding debts include $21 million owed to Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones is owed $11 million on a 2007 contract and announcer Vin Scully is owed $150,000.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

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