• 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.

  • Investor Pays Pennies on the Dollar for Portfolio in Chapter 7 Case

    The investment firm of Smith Rothchild Financial Co. has reached a key agreement in their Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. An Indiana investor has agreed to purchase a portfolio containing 125 loans and residential properties in the Chicago area.

    REL Financial LLC based in Munster, IN has agreed to pay $237,777 for loans and properties. The amount is a fraction of the $4.9 million owed to Smith Rothchild’s secured creditors, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.

    Distressed single-family homes and apartments and the loans secured by the properties are contained in the portfolio. Most of the properties are located on the South and West sides of Chicago and Gary, Ind. REL is paying $115,000 for the properties and $122,777 for the loans. The transaction is awaiting approval from the judge.

    Smith Rothchild, a Chicago based investment firm, provided short-term financing to investors that rehab properties. The firm filed for Chapter 7 protection in May of 2010. Essex Realty Group Inc. was hired in March of 2011 to market the portfolio.

    CIT Group Inc. is Smith Rothchild’s largest secured creditor with a claim of $2.9 million. Cole Taylor Bank is the second largest creditor, holding a $1.8 million claim. The portfolio’s low price means that secured creditors will receive pennies on the dollar.

    If you are considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact a Chicago bankruptcy attorney. A bankruptcy attorney will discuss the filing options that are available to you.