There’s a boom going on in bankruptcies, but the interesting things is those going bankrupt simply do not care. Consider the Press Democrat article A Boom In Bankruptcies.

A total of 47 cases were scheduled for hearings Thursday in his Santa Rosa bankruptcy court, each involving a creditor seeking permission to seize a debtor’s property.

While a few cases dealt with debts on cars or commercial properties, the vast majority involved lenders attempting to foreclose on homeowners who had sought safe haven in the courts from the fallout of the subprime mortgage crisis.

Instead of fighting for their homes, however, most didn’t even bother. In case after case, homeowners simply let lenders begin foreclosing on homes that are now worth less than the mortgages owed on them. So instead of an arduous morning filled with adversarial hearings, most cases flew by.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Jaroslovsky said before the hearing. “I’ve never seen so many people care so little about losing their homes.

Arizona bankruptcy rates rise 63 percent

AZCentral is reporting Arizona bankruptcy rates rise 63 percent.

The 967 statewide filings in January represented a 63-percent gain over January 2007, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the district of Arizona. Phoenix-area filings rose 78 percent to 708.

“I expect bankruptcies will continue to increase, most likely over the next two years but certainly while we’re in the middle of this real estate downturn,” said Diane Drain, a Phoenix attorney.

Chapter 7 bankruptcies in January accounted for nearly three in four filings both in the Phoenix metro area and statewide. These liquidation plans offer a fresh financial start to consumers and businesses.

Georgia Number Two In Bankruptcies

The Atlanta Journal is reporting Georgia No. 2 in rate of personal bankruptcies last year.

Thousands of Georgians facing economic woes have given the state a dubious ranking: the second-highest personal bankruptcy rate in the nation.

In 2007, bankruptcy courts statewide processed one personal bankruptcy filing for every 65 households, according to statistics compiled by the National Bankruptcy Research Center. Only in Tennessee was personal bankruptcy more common, with one filing for every 59 households.

“The economy is just so bad that that is spurring bankruptcies,” said Rich Thomson, a partner at Clark & Washington, Atlanta’s largest bankruptcy firm. “We have record numbers of foreclosures every month.”

Seven Private Equity Buyout Victims

The WSJ is reporting Seven Private Equity Buyout Victims.

Blue Water Automotive Systems, a maker of plastic car parts, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, bringing the number of private-equity owned companies that have made such filings in the past month or so to at least seven — and counting.

Many of the companies have fallen victim to too much debt. And it’s not just debt borrowed to finance the original buyouts, but additional leverage used to fund bolt-on deals.

It didn’t help that some of the sponsors behind the deals have cut their own fat checks by putting on more debt, in controversial transactions known as dividend recaps. Lubricant distributor Heartland Industries, for instance, had returned three times its sponsor Quad-C Management’s money through two recaps before filing for bankruptcy court protection.

Suck out the money and then some and let the corporation go bankrupt. That’s American financial engineering at its finest.

Meet The Bankruptcy Seven

  • Sirva Inc., a moving company bought by Clayton Dubilier & Rice Inc. in 1999 by combining two companies CD&R; owned, in a deal worth $450 million;
  • Wickes Furniture, furniture retailer bought by Sun Capital Partners and furniture vendor Rooms to Go in 2002 for an undisclosed price. Sun Capital bought out the interest of Rooms to Go in 2004 for an unknown sum;
  • Blue Water Automotive Systems, car parts provider bought by KPS Capital in 2005 for an undisclosed price;
  • PRC Inc., a call-center operator bought by Diamond Castle Holdings in 2006 for $286.5 million;
  • Buffets Holdings, a restaurant operator bought by CI Capital in 2000, for $643 million;
  • Heartland Industries, lubricant distributor bought by Quad-C Management in 2002 for an undisclosed price and a total equity investment of $39 million;
  • Propex Inc., a maker of carpet backing bought by Sterling Group, Laminar Direct Capital and Genstar Capital in 2004 for $340 million.

Trouble At Ritchie Capital Management

HedgeCo.Net is reporting Ritchie Capital Management May Be Forced To Open Up Books.

Ritchie Capital Management may be forced to deliver a lot more than an apology, if investors have their way. The company, who operates four hedge funds, is fighting an involuntary bankruptcy brought on by investors who not only are trying to reclaim their cash, but expose some secrets in the process.

Investors are looking to shed light on the reasoning behind the fund’s demise. This would entail opening up the record books, along with investor stategies, trading secrets, and other information that is usally kept hush hush by hedge funds. Investors are hoping to prove that Ritchie put their own needs ahead of their clients.

The true fear lies in the fact that if Ritchie is forced to reveal its internal operations, then regulation by lawsuits may have no end in sight. Hedge Funds enjoy the freedom of loose guidelines and ambiguity, and aren’t about to give that up without a fight.

Tamarack Resort In Idaho Files Chapter 11

New West Business is reporting Tamarack Resort Owners File for Bankruptcy Protection

The majority owners of tony Tamarack Resort in west-central Idaho, owing more than $300 million to lenders and international banks, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boise late last week.

According to Tamarack Resort CEO Jean-Pierre Boespflug, the Chapter 11 filing will have no impact on the resort’s day-to-day operation. “You can continue to do business with Tamarack Resort in a complete and normal way,” he said in an interview.

Boespflug said the resort was counting on a $118 million dollar loan from the French bank Société Générale to complete the resort village, but the financing fell through. Société Générale is reeling from the loss of some $7 billion in a trading scandal, and banks around the world are pulling back from many types of loans in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis and related problems in the finance world.

Because Tamarack did not receive the money by February 15—the day the bankruptcies were filed—the companies sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to avoid foreclosure by creditor Credit Suisse, which is owed $262 million. Credit Suisse could have ended up with 75 percent ownership of the resort, and been “able to sell the company to whoever it wants,” Boespflug said.

Two South Florida Condo Developers File For Bankruptcy

The South Florida Business Journal is reporting South Florida developers file for bankruptcy.

Two South Florida condominium developers filed for bankruptcy last week.

Strada 315 LLC, the developer of Fort Lauderdale’s Strada 315, filed Chapter 11 after selling 48 of its 117 units.

According to court documents, Regions Bank would not extend a $34.8 million construction loan on the project, at 315 N.E. Fourth St., which finished construction about two months ago. The bank also put a hold on any “excess proceeds” from unit sales, and Strada said it cannot pay subcontractors and creditors.

Surfside-based Beach House Property LLC, which is connected to Beach House Designed by Richard Meier, at 9449 Collins Ave., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday. The 101-unit condo was to break ground on the property of the Beach House Hotel last year.

The company owes its 20 largest unsecured creditors $4.6 million.

Balance sheet wreckage stemming from bankruptcies has only just begun. Banks will be capital impaired for years to come. The amazing thing is how huge numbers of people manage to find this inflationary.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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