• Owner of Giordano’s Pizza Makes Strange Decisions during Bankruptcy

    Giordano’s owner, John Apostolou, has made inexplicable decisions during the chapter 11 bankruptcy of his pizza chain. His actions have caused the court to bar him from his restaurants and hire an investment banker to sell the chain.

    Apostolou’s lawyer admits that his client made mistakes, causing Apostolou to lose control of the business during the bankruptcy . The biggest mistakes made are unusual documents Apostolou filed in court in which he improperly tries to terminate the bankruptcy, alleging fraud and other misdeeds. Included in the documents is an affidavit signed by his wife, Eva, in which they claim they do not recognize U.S. currency and are free of any legal constraints.

    Apostolou also fired Giordano’s bankruptcy attorney. This action caused the U.S. Justice Department to ask the bankruptcy court to appoint a trustee to seize the business.

    Trustee Philip Martino stated in a court hearing “because of certain perspectives that the Apostolou’s have, they have done a few things that merit this court’s attention. Perhaps it contributed to the lack of confidence that creditors have and certainly were part of the reason why I wanted them removed as fiduciaries.”

    Martino also said in court that he asked the Apostolous not to patronize Giordano’s because he thought their presence could be disruptive.

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

  • Minnesota Auto Dealership Mogul Claims Bad Bankruptcy Advice put Him in Prison

    It has been two years since Denny Hecker filed for personal chapter 7 bankruptcy. Hecker says he filed because his lawyers told him it was the only way to get the “gorilla” off his back. The “gorilla” in question is creditor Chrysler Financial. Hecker owed the financial arm of the automaker $767 million, and lesser amounts to other creditors.

    Hecker states that his gut told him not to file, but he succumbed to pressure from long-time trusted friends, employees with a vested interest in the company, and his spouse at the time. Lawyers told him that he could shed his debt to his creditors, and Hecker figured he could maintain his family’s lifestyle by running his remaining businesses.

    The bankruptcy started going wrong when the trustee handling the bankruptcy case started to ask questions. Complicating the case was the sale of two dealerships that were not finalized when the bankruptcy was filed. Trustee Randy Seaver raised questions about turning over the funds from the sales to pay other creditors.  The situation worsened when people who knew Hecker started calling in tips about hidden assets to Seaver.

    Hecker claims that he was a victim who was “outmaneuvered” by a raft of lawyers, including an “aggressive” bankruptcy trustee and his own lawyer.

    Federal prosecutors and Seaver stated that “Hecker committed bankruptcy fraud, repeatedly lied and chose to put his own financial interests above all else, including the rule of law and our system of justice.”

    Prosecutors charged Hecker with bankruptcy and wire fraud. Hecker plead guilty and received a prison sentence of up to ten years.