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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