William H. Millard, once one of America?s wealthiest chief executives at the helm of the ComputerLand Corp. retail chain, has sought creditor protection in the U.S., telling a New York bankruptcy judge that he?s not a notorious tax fugitive but the target of a decades-old vendetta from lawmakers on the Pacific island of Saipan. The 80-year-old entrepreneur, a college dropout who grew ComputerLand throughout the 1970s and 1980s, has been portrayed as a Cayman Islands tax exile who, with his wife Patricia, has managed to dodge a 1987 tax bill that?s climbed past $118 million. In papers filed last week with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, Millard said he faces more than $62 million in debt, largely owed on taxes, while his net worth has dwindled to $46 million. Millard paints himself as a victim of political corruption that he discovered in the late 1980s after leaving ComputerLand. He moved to Saipan to protect his wealth using a generous tax incentive that island leaders once promised to U.S. citizens who relocated there. In fact, Millard said in court papers, the outstanding tax bill came as a surprise to him two years ago. ?Had we been aware of the [tax collection] proceedings we would have contested them,? Millard said in court papers, asking the New York court to shield his U.S. assets pending a Cayman Islands bankruptcy proceeding. ?Despite our efforts to challenge the default judgments there has not yet been any determination on the merits as to whether they are valid.? Millard?s story, as told in court papers, contrasts with the picture painted by private investigators who said they?ve spent years chasing his far-flung assets across the globe. When they finally located the Millards at their Cayman Islands home three years ago, one of the investigators told The Wall Street Journal that his network of shell companies, trusts and bank accounts to be one of the most ?sophisticated and complicated? he?d ever seen. But in their own words, the Millards? story goes like this : ?After we moved to the island we became heavily involved with the local society and invested significant resources towards improving living conditions for its residents; we also invested in property and began construction of a home there. Unfortunately it did not take long for us to become aware of extensive corruption by public servants of the [Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands]. We became vocal opponents to the corruption and we were contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist them with its investigation into corruption within the [islands?] government. We cooperated with the FBI and this became public information both in the [commonwealth] and in the United States; as a result of media reports confirming my assistance to the FBI, and willingness to testify before a grand jury, we became subject to significant harassment and threats of violence.? Island lawmakers later passed the Tax Source Act of 1987, which the Millards? attorneys stated in court papers was nicknamed the ?Millard Bill,? and ?specifically targeted the Millards and was intended to prohibit them from receiving the [tax] rebate or any other tax benefits.? Unaware of the changes, the couple sold their shares of a ComputerLand affiliate for $76.8 million, court papers said. The couple filed their taxes in 1988, each reporting a net long-term capital gain from the stock sale, taking into account what was essentially a 95% rebate of the taxes they would have owed under U.S. law, according to court papers. Tax authorities who later contacted the Millards? attorney to say they owed more money on account of the tax changes appeared to resolve the issue, they said in court papers. But the tax debt remained even after the Millards left Saipan for the Cayman Islands after receiving death threats related to the purported FBI investigation. In 1994, the island got a tax judgment against Millard and his wife for $36 million from the U.S. District Court in the Northern Marianas, though tax officials didn?t try to collect that money right away. ?We were never served with the default judgments nor were we made aware that they had been obtained,? Millard said in bankruptcy-court papers. They said they found out about the island?s tax collection efforts in 2011 when a bank accidentally revealed to the couple that private investigators were on their trail. The couple has since filed a lawsuit in federal court in Florida to get rid of the judgments. Earlier this year, a judge in that case blocked the Millards from transferring assets among shell entities or their daughters, and they were told to provide sworn answers to various questions relating to their assets across the world, according to court papers. At a hearing set for May 20, island officials were prepared to ask for a court order ?directing turnover of the [their] assets,? according to court papers. On May 16, the couple sought Chapter 15 protection in the New York bankruptcy court to put the legal proceedings in Florida on hold while a bankruptcy judge determines the best course of action. The Chapter 15 case is meant to supplement a May 10 request for bankruptcy relief filed in the Cayman Islands, according to court papers. Write to Katy Stech at firstname.lastname@example.org . <br>For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://blogs.wsj.com/bankruptcy/2013/05/23/ex-computerland-ceo-seeks-creditor-protection-amid-tax-fight/?mod=WSJBlog
Satellite mogul Charlie Ergen bid $2 billion for certain spectrum from LightSquared Inc., the bankrupt wireless http://attorney-in-rancho-cucamonga.com/more-information/bankruptcy/ venture spearheaded by financier Philip Falcone , The Wall Street Journal reports . AMF Bowling Worldwide Inc. is seeking to exit bankruptcy protection through a merger with Bowlmor, one of the upscale bowling chains with which AMF has struggled to compete. Read the Daily Bankruptcy Review story here . Majority owner Sprint Nextel Corp. plans to boost its offer for Clearwire Corp. Tuesday, according to http://188.8.131.52/~acc237/san-francisco-bankruptcy-lawyer-com/64-art-sales-will-boost-stanford-fraud-victims-recovery people familiar with the matter, just as a shareholder meeting was set convene for what many believe would be a failed vote, writes WSJ?s MoneyBeat The battery maker formerly called A123 Systems Inc. won court approval of a plan to exit bankruptcy reports Bloomberg. The bankrupt units of specialty chemicals maker RPM International Inc may have to set aside twice as much money for asbestos-related liabilities as the company estimated, writes Reuters. Three former Saab executives, including former CEO Jan-Aake Jonsson and Chief Financial Officer Karl-Gustav Lindstroem, were arrested by Swedish prosecutors in an accounting-fraud probe, reports Bloomberg. <br>For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://blogs.wsj.com/bankruptcy/2013/05/21/the-daily-docket-ergen-makes-bid-for-lightsquared/?mod=WSJBlog
Florida home builder Tousa Inc ., which collapsed five years ago when the housing bubble popped, is seeking approval of a Chapter 11 plan that proposes http://attorney-in-murrieta.com/more-information/bankruptcy/ to pay bondholders hundreds of millions of dollars, a big win for the hedge funds who bought up the company?s debt at a deep discount then battled lenders for a payout. Read the story here in the Daily Bankruptcy Review. Al Lewis takes a look at how private-equity firms sucked up money from David Oreck?s vacuum cleaner company in The Wall Street Journal. General Motors Co. shares eclipsed their $33 initial public offering price amid investor enthusiasm over its new vehicles and speculation the U.S. government may soon exit its stake in the company, WSJ reports . Detroit?s emergency financial manager tries to meet a self-imposed, six-week deadline to decide http://chapter13bankruptcysite.com/young-bucks-bankruptcy-rap-sheet whether the city can get through its financial crisis without a bankruptcy filing, reports Reuters. Comedian Sinbad is filing for bankruptcy for the second time since 2009, says TMZ. A bankruptcy judge confirmed the Chapter 11 plan of Pittsburgh Corning, a business jointly owned by PPG Industries and Corning, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports . <br>For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://blogs.wsj.com/bankruptcy/2013/05/20/the-daily-docket-aurelius-scores-big-in-tousas-grand-bargain/?mod=WSJBlog
This week on The Broke and the Beautiful, Greek soccer club AEK Athens is readying for bankruptcy. Also, Lou Pearlman?s bankruptcy case is coming to a close, and Kerry Katona is back on TV. Herwig Prammer/Reuters AEK Athens players celebrate after Kostas Manolas (C) scored a goal during their Europa League soccer match against Sturm Graz in Graz on Dec. 14, 2011. AEK Athens likely has a new goooooal in mind: http://attorney-in-palm-desert.com/more-information/bankruptcy/ to make it through bankruptcy. According to the Associated Press , Greece?s third-largest soccer club is going to launch a liquidation and seek relegation to the third division. The Scotsman noted that the team reportedly owes 170 chapter 13 bankruptcy million euros ($290 million) in taxes. AEK Athens, which gained some notoriety earlier this year when a player made a Nazi salute after making a goal, has been hit by financial ills because of the country?s debt crisis. We?re sure boy-band mogul Lou Pearlman wants to see bankruptcy go out that door, and he might not be that far from it. As Bankruptcy Beat reported , the trustee in Pearlman?s bankruptcy case said he?s close to figuring out a creditor-payment plan. ?The trustee and committee each believe that they have made good progress towards a global resolutions of issues,? trustee Soneet Kapila noted in court papers . Pearlman, who?s been in bankruptcy for about six years, was sent to prison in 2008 to serve 25 years for running a Ponzi scheme in which customers lost more than $300 million. Joel Ryan/Associated Press Kerry Katona arrives for the National Television Awards in London in January 2012. Former Atomic Kitten singer Kerry Katona?s payday loan TV advertisements recently were banned by the British Advertising Standard Authority for being ?irresponsible? and ?misleading.? But now, according to the Daily Mail , she?s baaaaaaack. After a four-day hiatus, Katon?s ?Cash Lady? ads are appearing on TV again, albeit in a slightly different way. Katona has been on the U.K. versions of ?I?m a Celebrity?Get Me Out of Here!? and ?Celebrity Big Brother,? She was declared bankruptcy in 2008, and her payday loan campaigns haven?t been without criticism . Write to Melanie Cohen at email@example.com . Follow her on Twitter at @MelanieLisa . <br>For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://blogs.wsj.com/bankruptcy/2013/05/17/the-broke-and-the-beautiful-greek-soccer-edition/?mod=WSJBlog
Top bankruptcy attorneys have found a new place for the scraps of leftover money from corporations that collapsed under Chapter 11 protection: their own charity. Without clear instructions from the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on what to do with the unclaimed money that?s too small to distribute among a liquidated company?s creditors, the American Bankruptcy Institute is pushing the corporate bankruptcy attorneys among its roughly 13,000 members to donate the money to the organization?s own nonprofit endowment fund. ?We think it?s as good a place as any,? said ABI executive director Sam Gerdano, who said that three bankruptcy estates have promised to funnel leftover money into the charity so far. ?Rather than having it [turn over] to the state, why not recycle it into the bankruptcy community?? The group has posted a 131-word passage on its website that bankruptcy attorneys can copy and paste into creditor payout plans to direct the money to the fund, which pays for scholarship and bankruptcy research. The trade group?s initiative comes at a time when many restructuring professionals are confused over what to do with unexpected leftover money in a liquidating Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. That money can come from uncashed creditor checks, tax rebates or returned utility deposits. The Bankruptcy Code says that leftover money in Chapter 11, which is usually used to restructure companies and keep them in business, should return to the reorganized company. The Code?s designers, however, didn?t foresee that more companies would instead use Chapter 11 to liquidate. Closing a company using the Chapter 11 process gives a company?s executives more control because they stay on staff to unwind the company themselves. Under the more traditional Chapter 7 http://184.108.40.206/~acc237/san-francisco-bankruptcy-lawyer-com/56-bankruptcy-watchdog-defends-role-in-gsc-case liquidation process, the court appoints a trustee to do that work. It?s unclear how much unclaimed money has accumulated, but attorneys say the amounts can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $50,000. Without oversight, ?the money is totally off the radar,? Florida bankruptcy attorney Paul Steven Singerman said last year. He once was handed a $150,000 insurance rebate check for a company whose bankruptcy he handled. Congress hasn?t made much progress toward clearing up the confusion. Democratic staffers for the U.S. House of Representatives? Judiciary Committee are working on a proposal that would direct the leftover money to Chapter 7 trustees, a group of professionals who have long complained that they are underpaid for the work in recovering money for creditors of liquidated companies. Right now, they can collect as little as $60 per case. That proposal hasn?t been introduced to Congress yet. Some bankruptcy attorneys recently suggested that the money could help plug the budget hole left by the federal sequester, which has forced cuts of nearly $350 million upon the judicial system, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts . The cuts, which trimmed 5% of the system?s overall budget, have caused some courthouses to close early because they don?t have the money to pay for security. But Charles Hall, a spokesman for the federal court system, explained that federal law prevents the court from taking the money since federal law directs ?unclaimed funds? in the judicial system toward the U.S. Treasury. ?The bankruptcy court cannot use unclaimed funds, whether there?s sequestration or not,? he said. Some attorneys and judges are trying to transfer leftover money from Chapter 11 cases to charity rather than let it sit in bank accounts or transfer it to pay off the national debt. Bankruptcy courts within Florida?s southern district even created a rule in the local court procedures handbook that encourages the money to be donated to charity. Gerdano of ABI wouldn?t say which three liquidated companies are putting the leftover money in their estates into the organization?s endowment, even though that information had to be disclosed in a company?s publicly filed Chapter 11 payout plan. He said that so far, the estates have contributed at least $100,000 to the fund. ABI?s endowment fund pays for bankruptcy-related research into topics such as the high fees in corporate bankruptcy cases or the cost of bankruptcy for individuals. ?In lieu of people throwing around anecdotes or impressions or http://cortrightlaw.com/location/murrieta-attorney firsthand experiences, we provided data-supported conclusions,? said University of Maine law professor and bankruptcy attorney Lois Lupica. The money is also paying for some of the $300,000 effort to update the Chapter 11 process, which some advocates say has grown imbalanced since its last overhaul in 1978. Write to Katy Stech at firstname.lastname@example.org .