• Famous Bankruptcies: Donald Trump

    “I don’t like the ‘b’ word,” Donald Trump said from the witness stand in a New Jersey bankruptcy courtroom in 2010. Oddly enough, it was during the third time that Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. was going through Chapter 11.

    “I never went bankrupt, and a lot of people did go bankrupt,” Trump told the congressional newspaper The Hill for a story published on December 6, 2011. Technically, “the Donald” has never filed for personal bankruptcy, but he has filed for corporate bankruptcy-four times, actually, between 1991 and 2009.

    This segment on celebrities who have filed bankruptcy was an idea that came from the way that financial problems were being used to try and discredit women accusing former presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual impropriety. Now that Trump himself is once again hinting at the possibility of running as an independent candidate, it only seems fair to ask why Trump does not receive the same type of scrutiny.

    Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal did just that when Trump was first grandstanding discussing running for the Republican nomination back in April. You can see his visible anger in regards to the bankruptcy issue when Kelly Evans asks why “someone who filed for bankruptcy multiple times” should be “running national finances at a time when we have a big debt problem” at the 3:30 mark in this video interview:

    Got that? Donald has used the laws of this country to negotiate corporate debt deals, but has never filed bankruptcy. During a December 7 interview with Neil Cavuto on the same Fox News network that Trump expressed admiration for in the above Journal interview, when the bankruptcy question was asked again, Trump again vehemently denied the charge and said it has been “so incorrectly reported, it’s amazing.” “I’ve opened up a wound here,” Cavuto said.

    Again, whether you simply need foreclosure help or have suddenly found your debt has gotten out of your control, you need to know that people on both ends of the financial spectrum have used bankruptcy court to get a fresh start. If you fear that filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will prevent you from ever getting “the ultimate job interview” on “The Apprentice,” keep in mind that the host of the program’s companies bearing his name have certainly been no stranger to that “b” word he supposedly dislikes so much.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • Marie Callender and Perkins Restaurant Chain File Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

    The owner of Perkins and Marie Callender restaurant chains filed for bankruptcy on June 13, 2011. Court documents show that the company plans to shutter 65 of its 600 locations and eliminate 2,500 jobs.

    The bankruptcy is wiping out the investment of private equity firm Castle Harlan. They acquired the Perkins chain in 2005 for $245 million. Castle Harlan added the Marie Callender Restaurant and Bakery chain in 2006 for $140 million.

    The restaurant chain is the latest food business to fall in a sluggish economy and soaring food prices. Perkins and MarieCallender Inc.’s filing follows on the heels of a bankruptcy filed by chicken producer Allen Family Foods.

    Company President Joseph Trungale said in court documents that the company was hit hard by a weak economy. A sharp decline in restaurant sales in the Midwest, Florida and California pushed the company into filing.

    The company said that high unemployment and foreclosure rates in Florida and California led to a decrease in discretionary income for many historically loyal customer, resulting in a drop in customer traffic.

    Total assets for the company listed in the petition are $290 million with liabilities of $440.8 million. Eleven affiliates of Perkins and Marie Callender’s, Inc. are included in the bankruptcy filing.

    If you are seeking bankruptcy information , contact a Chicago bankruptcy attorney for insight into how the process works.

  • Battle for Control of Rookwood Pottery Takes a Surprising Turn

    Rookwood Corporation filed an involuntary chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, 2011, forced into filing by their creditors. Shareholders voted on June 21, 2011 for a change in leadership and restore former company president and CEO Chris Rose as a director.

    Current CEO Chip DeMois laughed when he was asked to comment on a news release which states that he has been removed from his position by shareholders.

    DeMois said he is still at Rookwood and the current team is “firing on all cylinders and continuing to move forward.”

    Rookwood Pottery is experiencing growth, having increased the amount of employees by 50 percent since January. It has recently received its first international order and increased the production capacity by 200 percent. Rookwood saw its first profit in May, 2011, the first in many years.

    Majority owners Martin and Marilyn Wade tried to avoid filing for bankruptcy by planning an auction of the company’s assets. They hoped to reorganize under a new corporate structure. However, creditors Alfred Berger Jr., Sharri Ramelsberg and Rose forced the involuntary bankruptcy. They say they are owed almost $260,000 in total.

    The Wades fired Rose in December, 2010 and hired DeMois in January, 2011.

    If you are considering filing for bankrupty and would like to obtain bankruptcy information, about the process, contact a Chicago bankruptcy attorney.

  • Vacant Lots Owned by Gas City to be Auctioned by Bankruptcy Court

    Gas City, LTD is putting five vacant properties up for auction in June 2011. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October of 2010.

    The properties going for auction range in size from three acres to more than 46 acres. They are located in Will County, Ill and Montgomery County, Ind.

    Bids are due Wednesday, June 22, and the auction is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Friday, June 24.

    The auction is part of the ongoing breakup of Gas City. The company cited more than 1,000 creditors and estimated liabilities of more than $100 million in its bankruptcy filing. Published reports say that the debt totals $365 million.

    The company’s 50 retail sites were auctioned to the highest qualified bidders in April of 2011 for a total of approximately $135 million. According to bankruptcy court records, some of the purchasers are Speedway, TravelCenters of America, 7-Eleven, Inc., and Valero Retail Holdings, Inc.

    Before filing for bankruptcy protection, Gas City was a family-owned and -operated petroleum marketer and convenience store chain with 50 locations located around the United States. Gas City was founded in 1966 with one convenience store by current president William J. McEnery.

    If you are considering filing for bankruptcy and would like to learn more about the process, contact a Chicago bankruptcy attorney for more information.

  • Borders Gains More Time to Handle Its Bankruptcy Case

    On June 2, 2011, a bankruptcy judge gave Borders more time to work on organizing its Chapter 11 case. A lawyer for the bookseller said the company hopes to have a plan in place to sell all of the company’s stores by the end of June.

    Another lawyer for Borders stated that the company could eventually create a plan to reorganize, but a plan to sell existing stores to a third party is imminent. Borders say they are in talks with “multiple buyers” interested in “most, up to all” of the company’s remaining stores.

    Border’s official committee of unsecured creditors argued that Borders is taking too long in its case, and that they want to be kept informed as the bankruptcy progresses.

    The book chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, citing increased competition for its products and the growing popularity of electronic books. Borders wanted to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of summer 2011, but obligations to book publishers have made the goal unlikely.  More than a third of the company’s 642 stores have been closed since the filing, and leases are being reassessed on many of the remaining locations.

    Borders has stated that if they reorganize, they anticipate being a much smaller bookseller once they emerge from bankruptcy.

    If you are interested in learning more information about filing for personal bankruptcy, contact a Chicago bankruptcy attorney for more information.

  • Industrial Surfacing Corp. of Urbana Files for Chapter 11

    Industrial Surfacing Corp. of Urbana, Ill has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  The business is a rock surfacing company that works with electrical and petroleum firms to provide drainage surfaces, erosion abatement, berm construction and more. The company has offices located in Texas, Louisiana and Indiana as well as its office in Illinois. Documents filed in May 2011 list $1.53 million in assets and $4.04 million in liabilities.

    Company President Rodger Ferguson has made no comment about the bankruptcy filing to date.

    Listed in the filing are approximately 2.2 million in secured claims. The largest claim is $1.54 million from Prospect Bank in Champaign and the second largest claim is $410,000 from FCC Equipment Financing of Jacksonville, Fla.

    Unsecured priority claims include $49,465 in gross wages owed to 12 people. Ferguson is owed the largest amount of $25,500. Also listed in the filing is $63,227 in contributions owed to employee benefit plans. The largest unsecured priority claim is $272,253 that is owed to the Internal Revenue Service. Unemployment insurance payments are owed to Illinois, Texas, Louisiana and Michigan.

    Fifty-two creditors are listed for unsecured non-priority claims. The largest claim is for $530,588. Claims for $158,070 and $114,000 are associated with loans made to the business by Rodger Ferguson and Rebecca Ferguson, respectively.

    The $1.53 million in assets include a Cessna airplane, dozens of vehicles, and various pieces of equipment.

    Filing in bankruptcy court is a complex process, one that requires assistance from a bankruptcy professional. Contact a Chicago bankruptcy attorney for help with your situation.

  • Wisconsin Ethanol Pioneers File Bankruptcy with a Debt Load of $100 Million Plus

    Two Wisconsin brothers who pioneered ethanol production in the state now have outstanding debts of over $100 million after their agricultural holdings fell apart.

    Paul and David Olsen owe money to several banks, lawyers, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as well as their mother. The total of the outstanding debts is $104 million.

    The Olsens once owned stakes in two ethanol plants, a crop service providing fertilizer, seed to farmers, five farms, and grain mills that purchased crops from farmers located in eastern and central Wisconsin. However, the ethanol industry crash and spike in corn prices that happened in 2008-09 gravely wounded the family businesses.

    The Olsen’s Mill Inc. chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization started in a Green Lake County courthouse in 2009. It has since spread to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the New York Supreme Court, four county courthouses, and recently to the U.S. District Court for Eastern Wisconsin where the brothers filed for personal bankruptcy.

    According to the brother’s bankruptcy case file, they personally guaranteed a  loan of $50.7 million borrowed from BNP Paribas. There is also  $20.7 million Utica Energy borrowed from Dougherty Funding LLC. Records also show that the brothers owe West Pointe Bank $27.5 million on property mortgages, Citizens First Bank $1.2 million on a grain elevator and WisDOT $2.5 in financial assistance to install rail spurs and purchase train cars.

    If you are considering bankruptcy court, contact a Chicago bankruptcy attorney for more information. He can help you make the right decision for your situation.

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