Thomas Hazelrigg III, longtime friend and business associate of fugitive real-estate magnate Michael R. Mastro, was recently forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a step that might eventually mean more money for Mastro’s many creditors writes Eric Pryne for www.seattletimes.nwsource.com. Pryne has been covering the Mastro bankruptcy/Hazelrigg bankruptcy/fraud story since its beginning.
Courts already have decreed that Hazelrigg owes Mastro’s creditors more than $76 million but, to date, has paid nothing. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Timothy Dore’s decision to place Hazelrigg into a forced Chapter 7 bankruptcy will allow a third party to determine whether Hazelrigg has any assets that can be liquidated and distributed, said James Rigby, the court-appointed trustee representing Mastro’s creditors. Rigby does not know if Hazelrigg has any assets, “’but we can’t just walk away without taking a long, hard look.’”
Hazelrigg’s lawyer avers that his client is “broke and living in a friend’s RV in New Mexico. It’s much ado about nothing. They’re not going to find anything. They’re not going to collect anything.”
Hazelrigg, 65, who made loans that banks wouldn’t, borrowed tens of millions from Mastro to finance real-estate ventures that collapsed when the economy did. His inability to repay those loans to Mastro actually helped pushed Mastro into his own involuntary bankruptcy some three years ago.
Bankruptcy law requires Hazelrigg to file statements detailing his finances and to attend a meeting at which creditors can ask him questions. Pryne reports that “tens of millions have been transferred in and out of accounts associated with Hazelrigg over the last few years, but it’s unclear whether anything remains”.
Even if the bankruptcy court collects all $76 million Hazelrigg owes (highly unlikely), that still won’t make Mastro’s creditors whole since approved and pending unsecured claims total over $270 million.
Hazelrigg, like Mastro, is under criminal investigation, and reportedly intends to invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination in court proceedings.
Hopefully, your financial situation is not as serious as Mr. Hazelrigg’s, but you should not take your overwhelming debt lightly. Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy is a complex legal matter. You need a knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy attorney from Macey Bankruptcy Law at your side. Log onto our new interactive website, www.maceybankruptcylaw.com or call us toll-free at 800-260-1402 for your free initial consultation. We answer our phones Monday-Saturday and evenings so you can get answers when you need them. Don’t wait, call us today.