Friday, February 24, 2012

Disgraced Real Estate Magnate Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Flees Authorities Plus Associate of Disgraced Real Estate Magnate Forced into Chapter 7 Part II

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 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, 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.

Disgraced Real Estate Magnate Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Flees Authorities Plus Associate of Disgraced Real Estate Magnate Forced into Chapter 7-Part I

Following is actually a 2-part saga of living the high-life, swindling clients and associates, cheating on a fatally-ill wife—you name it, former Seattle real estate tycoon-turned fugitive, Michael Mastro has lived it. The scenario, right out of a Dashiell Hammett plot, now centers on Michael & Linda Mastro, who filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July 2009 with liabilities of $570 million, one of Washington’s all-time largest bankruptcies. The couple then vacationed in Italy, Paris, Switzerland, New York City, Palm Springs and Jackson Hole.

Then (cue the music), the twosome disappeared last summer after failing to comply with a court order to relinquish two diamond rings valued at $1.4 million. Warrants were issued for their arrest, but their whereabouts remain unknown, reports Eric Pryne for, who has been covering the story since its inception.

Reports show the couple fled to Canada and are currently living under-cover. (It’s a small world, folks, they will probably surface sooner rather than later).

An article by Rick Anderson on, states that the Palm Desert, California, estate of the 86-year-old tycoon and his 61-year-old wife will soon undergo auction. Included in the ultra-high-end sale are a Bentley convertible, Steinway baby grand piano, fur coats and 25 Chihuly glass pieces.

Anderson also reports that the Mastros have ceased paying their attorneys, “effectively limiting if not ending their legal challenges to the bankruptcy case, which has left some of their creditors high and dry”.

Federal Bankruptcy Judge Marc Barreca has recently approved distribution of $2.8 million in recovered funds to Mastro’s many creditors, about 1% of what the less-than-honorable multi-millionaire actually owes.

Although your financial situation is probably not as serious as the Mastro’s, you should not take overwhelming debt lightly. Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy is complicated. You need a knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy attorney from Macey Bankruptcy Law at your side. Log onto or call toll-free 800-260-1402 for your free initial consultation. Don’t spend another sleepless night, call us today.

Read more for Part II: Bankruptcy of Thomas Hazelrigg III, Associate of Michael Mastro

Credit Scores Reflect Rent Payments

Beginning March 1, some FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) scores will include rent payment information collected by CoreLogicCredco, a specialty credit reporting agency.

As reported by Carolyn Bigda in The Chicago Tribune, at its inception the new scoring will only be available to mortgage lenders, which can then check credit scores before approving an applicant for a home loan. This service may, in the future, also become available to credit card companies and other lenders.

Experian, one of the three major credit reporting bureaus, has used rental payments in calculating their Vantage credit scores for over a year. Vantage is a fairly new credit scoring system offered by the major credit bureaus. Experian collects records from RentBureau, a specialty agency it acquired in 2010. To date, only positive data has been included; however, Experian plans to include negative information, like unpaid rent, later this year.

The good: your credit score may increase with a history of on-time rent payments. It could help establish credit scores for young people who have no other credit history, including recent college graduates. Joanne Gaskin, director of product management global scoring at FICO, said “’It certainly would help with the length of your credit history, which makes up about 35% of your score.’”

The bad: Rent history alone is not enough for a FICO score, for which you need a minimum of one year of a traditional credit line, such as a credit card, with at least six of months of payment history. In addition, if you pay your rent 30 days or more late, your Vantage score could drop, even if you have a valid reason for withholding the payment. This could prove detrimental in negotiations with a recalcitrant landlord. However, as with any negative record on your credit report, you can always contest a late payment.
The ugly: what happens to the credit score of a parent (or other guarantor) who may co-sign a lease? According to CoreLogic’s Alyson Austin, that person’s score could be negatively impacted if rent is not paid on time.

Currently only large rental management firms, such as RentBureau, are participating in the new program. However, Experian is expected to launch software soon, making it possible for even small landlords to provide reliable information, albeit at the discretion of the landlord.

Yes, it is a fact that when you go through a bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale on your home, your credit score will be impacted. It is also a fact that, in time, you will be able to reestablish your credit, acquire a credit/debit card, finance the purchase of a car and qualify for a mortgage. It is also a fact that if you owe too much in debt, if you are paying your debts late, or if you are borrowing from one card to pay another, your score can also be negatively affected. When you call Macey Bankruptcy Law, our dedicated bankruptcy attorneys will take the time to explain how your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will affect your personal credit score. Call 800-260-1402 or log onto to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

California Company, DriWater Inc., Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

DriWater Inc., a 22-year-old Santa Rosa, California, company that made slow-release gel packs for watering plants, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, listing $213,000 in assets and close to $7.5 million in debt.
The company had financial backing from a number of local investors, including the family of the late Charles Schulz, creator of “Peanuts”. The family owns the patent on DriWater’s biodegradable gel formula, and Jean Schulz, the cartoonist’s widow, holds a $1.5 million unsecured claim against the business, according to DriWater’s bankruptcy filing.
Driwater’s bankruptcy attorney averred that unsecured creditors will not be able to get any cash from the liquidation, since there are no assets remaining. Secured creditors may be entitled to some payment following the sale of the company’s equipment and inventory.
Driwater’s president, Joseph Paternoster, announced that the failure of his company was due, in great part, to the slowing of the real estate market. He added that when the company started in 1990, they were a pioneer in green technology, “growing trees and saving water”.
According to a story on by Steve Hart, the water-filled packs were constructed of a patented, natural gel that slowly broke down when exposed to soil. The biodegradable containers gradually released water for up to three months. Small packs were sold to home gardeners who used them to keep their houseplants watered while they were away on vacation, while larger containers were used by landscapers to irrigate new plantings in places where automatic sprinklers were not available, such as new developments and highway median strips.
DriWater’s customers included garden shops, hardware stores, landscaping businesses, irrigation supply companies, as well as government agencies and nonprofit environmental restoration groups. However, according to bankruptcy documents, annual sales never surpassed $2 million, dropping to less than $1 million for the past three years.
Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy is complicated. You need the knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy attorneys from Macey Bankruptcy Law to assist you with all of your legal proceedings. We have helped hundreds of thousands of consumers since 1994  discharge their debts. Log onto our new, interactive website or call us toll-free 800-260-1402 to arrange your free initial consultation. It could be the key to your financial freedom.

Sacramento Real Estate Developer Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Sacramento developer Sotiris Kolokotronis recently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento after years of legal fights over a failed Elk Grove, California, housing complex. The bankruptcy petition lists Kolokotronis’ debts at $136 million with assets of $3.2 million.
The real estate developer is known for his midtown Sacramento condo project, L Street Lofts, which went into default and is currently being acquired by Southern California developer Bob Clippinger. The filing traces Kolokotronis’ bankruptcy mainly to his role in the planned — but never built —Sheldon Terrace housing project; three years ago, Kolokotronis defaulted on a $17 million loan for that project.
According to an article in The Sacramento Bee by Bob Shallit, a San Diego ‘vulture fund’, Gray1 CPB, had purchased that loan and, last year, obtained a judgment against the developer for $16.5 million. To collect, it attempted to foreclose on Kolokotronis’ majority interests in three other properties — the Fremont building, the Food Source supermarket and the Olympus Pointe cinema complex. Kolokotronis’ bankruptcy attorney said that his client had reached a settlement agreement with Gray1 last year, but that they had “reneged” on the deal.
Over the past 15 years, Kolokotronis has built many major real estate projects in Sacramento’s central city including Capitol Park Homes along Q Street and the mixed use apartment, restaurant and store complex at 19th and L Streets.
If you have been contemplating filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy due to a negative equity mortgage or overwhelming debt, contact the lawyers at Macey Bankruptcy Law. We are experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of personal bankruptcy protection. Call us toll-free at 800-260-1402 six days a week and evenings to receive your initial free consultation or log onto our new site, for important and timely bankruptcy information. Call us today; we may be able to help.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Still No Whining on the Yacht*

Indiana boat builder Jefferson Yachts has recently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Indiana. Kentuckiana Yacht Sales, which is also owned by Jefferson Yachts, was listed with the yacht builder in the bankruptcy petition. In the filing, Jefferson Yachts listed total assets for the company, including personal property, at $17,286, with total liabilities from both secured and unsecured creditors at $570,513.

In an article on, Jefferson Yachts is scheduled to meet with creditors in March to discuss the debts and the bankruptcy, as required under Chapter 7 bankruptcy law.

If you are contemplating filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy, do not proceed without an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney from Macey Bankruptcy Law at your side. To schedule your free initial consultation, please call 800-260-1402 Monday through Saturday and log onto our new easy-to-navigate site, It could be the key to your financial freedom. Attorneys from Macey Bankruptcy Law have helped hundreds of thousands of consumers since 1994 discharge their debt. We may be able to help you, too.

* Please see blog from April 2011, where Post Marine Co. Inc., a yacht-maker based in Mays Landing, New Jersey, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

Bottoms Up; Bottom Line Down

Infinite Spirits Inc., the company that makes Shakers vodka, a premium-grade spirit distilled from wheat and rye grown in Benson, Minnesota, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. In its recent filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Paul, the company listed $195,349 in assets and $2,255,856 in liabilities.

Unsecured creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing include the Florida Marlins, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland A’s, CBS Radio and the Hartford Insurance Co.

According to an article on by Patrick Kennedy and initially reported by The West Central Tribune, five of the six founders of Infinite Spirits had worked together at the successful microbrewer Pete’s Wicked Ale, including Pat Couteaux, who became Shakers’ master distiller.

Infinite Spirits introduced its new product with a low-budget, albeit clever marketing campaign in 2003, enjoying early success and winning medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition the next year. The company had also planned on producing such other liquors as whiskey, rum and cordials.

According to the bankruptcy trustee, Richard Stermer, the vodka was made in Benson but shipped to a facility in Blaine, Minnesota, for final preparation and bottling. Production allegedly ceased last February or March when the company was evicted from the Blaine facility, possibly over a rent dispute. Stermer also states that he has been receiving offers from those wanting to buy up the assets and intellectual property of Infinite Spirits. “Hopefully we can turn that into a sale of the company,” he stated.

If you are considering filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy, don’t wait another day to call the Macey Bankruptcy Law experts. Our compassionate and experienced bankruptcy attorneys are available for mini-phone consultations six days a week and evenings to answer your financial debt questions. The skilled Macey Bankruptcy Law experts have over 440 years of combined experience in all aspects of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief. Since 1994, we have helped hundreds of thousands of clients eliminate over $500,000,000 in debt, including reducing principal balances on underwater second mortgages. 
With over 100 offices in 19 states, many clients have walk-in access to the legal help they need. Call us toll-free at 1-800-260-1402 to discuss real solutions to your real debt problems and log onto for more information on personal bankruptcy.

Eifler Tower Comes Crashing Down Eifler Tower Comes Crashing Down

Eifler Tower Crane & Hoist Co. LLC and its five subordinate companies that together provided large tower cranes for construction projects nationwide have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Louisville, Kentucky-based companies, which were all controlled by company president Tom Eifler Jr., filed their liquidation petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of Kentucky.

As an entity, the companies listed assets of $50,000 or less with liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million in their initial bankruptcy petitions.

In an article by Kevin Eigelbach on, the initial meeting of creditors in the case has been scheduled for March 1, according to court records.

When considering filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is of the utmost importance that you have the best legal advice available. The bankruptcy attorneys at Macey Bankruptcy Law are familiar with all aspects of personal bankruptcy. We have over 440 years of combined bankruptcy law experience and will give you the best possible advice on your personal bankruptcy filing. If you are tired of unpaid credit bills and late car payment notices piling up in your home, call the compassionate and experienced bankruptcy lawyers at Macey Bankruptcy Law. We have been helping people like you start a new financial life since 1994. Call us toll-free at 1-800-260-1402 and log onto our new, interactive website at