• 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

  • 50-year-old Evergreen Plaza Losing its Vibrancy, Faces Foreclosure

    A lender filed a foreclosure suit against Evergreen Plaza and placed its $20 million loan up for sale. The suit is an attempt to end a long-running loan dispute with the owner of the mall.

    Real estate firm CB Richard Ellis Inc. is marketing the past-due loan on the mall, which is located at 9500 S. Western Ave. in Evergreen Park. The current owners started to miss mortgage payments in 2009.

    CB Richard Ellis is marketing the 30.2-acre site for redevelopment. The center is now simply called the Plaza and is 62% leased. There are four tenants with leases that run past 2014, including Carson Pirie Scott & Co.

    The partners that own the mall proposed redeveloping one end of the property into a 220,000 square-foot open-air shopping center with big-box retailers as part of loan restructuring. However, the proposal has been rejected by Helios AMC, which is handling the loan for investors. The loan was purchased to be part of a pool of commercial mortgage-backed securities. At this time, no foreclosure help is forthcoming.

    The partnership is hoping to team up with an investor to buy the note and fund the redevelopment project.

    Arthur Rubloff developed Evergreen Plaza in 1952 as an outdoor mall. It became one of the first regional malls in the country after he enclosed it in the 1960’s.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago foreclosure lawyer