Author Archives: Justin A. Saporito
by Justin A. Saporito, Law Clerk
Aramid Entertainment Fund, Limited filed for Chapter 11 protection in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on June 13, 2014. Debtor has declared assets of $237.3 million and consolidated debt of $11.5 million. Debtor was assigned case number 1:14-bk-11802, a judge has yet to be assigned. Approximately 96 creditors were listed in the petition; among them are several other Aramid entities including Aramid Liquidating Trust, Ltd. and Aramid Entertainment, Inc. which jointly filed with the Debtor and were assigned consecutive case numbers.
Aramid Entertainment Fund, Limited is part of Aramid Capital Partners, LLP, a London based hedge fund that specializes in financing movies. According to their website, Aramid Capital has provided financing for thirty-two (32) movies including Paranormal Activity, W., and How to Lose Friends & Alienate People. Please click here for a list of their productions.
Debtor filed for Chapter 11 protection due to the cost of ongoing litigation against several of its borrowers who failed to repay loans or violated film-financing agreements. One such suit began in February 2012 and is over an alleged $44 million in losses. Debtor invested $22 million in a financing deal between Relativity Media, LLC and Sony Pictures. Debtor alleges that executives from Fortress Investment Group, LLC used Aramid’s confidential information, which was allegedly obtained during a 2010 portfolio review as part of a proposed purchase of Debtor’s assets, to make a deal with Sony that destroyed Debtor’s investments.
By: Justin A. Saporito, Law Clerk
Bradford & Byrd Associates, Inc. filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey on May 23rd, 2014. The case has been assigned to the Honorable Christine M. Gravelle under case number 3:14:bk-20478.
Debtor claims assets of less than $50,000 with liabilities ranging between $500,000 and $1 million. Among debtor’s 21 creditors are the Internal Revenue Service, New Jersey Department of Labor, New York State Workers Compensation Board, Mercedes Benz, and several other companies and private individuals. Debtor is represented by Bunce Atkinson of Atkinson & DeBartolo, PC from Red Bank, New Jersey.
Debtor is a janitorial firm that was founded in 1989 and headquartered in Freehold, New Jersey. Debtor provides janitorial services clients in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. Some of debtor’s more notable clients include UPS, the Social Security Administration Headquarters, and Public Service Electric and Gas Company. In debtor’s more than 20 years in business, it has achieved some noticeable accomplishments including servicing the Statue of Liberty in 1996 and being contracted to clean vintage chandeliers at West Point Military Academy in 2001.
The Riverhounds Event Center, L.P. and Riverhounds Acquisition Group, L.P., the limited partnerships that own and operate Highmark Stadium and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Professional Soccer Club respectively, jointly declared voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 26, 2014. Debtors filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, assigned case numbers 2:14-bk-21180 and 2:14-bk-21181 respectively. Both cases have been assigned to the Honorable Jeffery A. Deller.
The Riverhounds Event Center, L.P. owns and operates the newly constructed Highmark Stadium located in the South Side area of Pittsburgh and claims assets ranging from $1 million to $10 million with liabilities between $10 million and $50 million. Of those liabilities, $7.2 million is mortgage debt and $1.5 million in bank loans.
The Riverhounds Acquisition Group, L.P. is the limited partnership that owns the Pittsburgh Riverhounds minor league soccer team and claims assets ranging from $500,000 to $1 million with liabilities between $1 million and $10 million. The Pittsburgh Riverhounds was founded in 1999 and currently plays in the United Soccer Leagues. Much of the debt leading up to the bankruptcy was incurred in 2012-2013 during the construction of Highmark Stadium. The bankruptcy is not expected to affect the 2014 season.
Debtors share some creditors such as Shallenberger Construction, Inc., First National Bank of Pennsylvania, and Urban Redevelopment Association of Pittsburgh. Both debtors are represented by John M. Steiner of Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl, LLC.
The University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence Celebrates 20 Years of Empowering Local Entrepreneurs!
Founded in 1993 and run out of the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE) began with a $300,000 grant and the mission of being the “innovative leader of economic renewal and growth serving enterprising people and businesses in the region.” In pursuit of this mission the IEE utilizes a dynamic approach of programs and services including monthly workshops, customized consulting, social initiatives, educational programs, professionally-led peer forums, and social events.
This dynamic program has led the IEE to grow to $3 million in annual revenue and the annual serving of hundreds of businesses through its seminars, customized consulting, and millions of dollars in raised capital and revenue. Last year alone the IEE served 824 businesses, helped create 39 startups, raised $10.7 million in capital, increased $14.4 million in revenue for clients, and educated more than 1,400 business leaders through 56 programs and seminars. (according to its 2012 Community Impact Report)
The IEE provides its services through its 8 institute centers and programs. These centers/programs consist of Agricultural Entrepreneurship, a 12-month Entrepreneurial Fellows Program, the Family Enterprise Center, the Information Technology Program, PantherlabWorks, the Small Business Development Center, Student Entrepreneurship program in conjunction with Katz School of Business, and the Urban Entrepreneurship Program. For more information about these programs please click here. To take advantage of one or more of these programs an individual or firm must become an IEE member. Membership includes benefits in addition to participation in IEE programs. For more information about membership please see the IEE’s membership brochure or contact the IEE’s membership director Shelley Taylor.
For more information about the IEE please visit their website at http://www.entrepreneur.pitt.edu.
Penn Data Services, Inc. filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on October 1st, 2013 in the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh). The case has been assigned to the Honorable Judge Carlota M. Bohm under case number 2:13-bk-24153. A summary of the docket can be found here.
This is the debtor’s 2nd consecutive voluntary filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, having previously filed over a year ago on August 21st, 2012 (that is referred to as a “Chapter 22” by those in the industry). That case was assigned case # 2:12-bk-24156 and was also overseen by Judge Bohm. The 2012 case was dismissed on August 30th, 2013 for failure to timely file a Chapter 11 Plan and Disclosure Statement. A docket summary of the initial filing for the 2012 case can be found here.
Penn Data Services, Inc. is a billing services company founded in 1996 and located in Natrona Heights, PA. The debtor claims assets of less than $50,000 with liabilities between $50,000 and $100,000. Christopher M. Frye of Steidl & Steinberg P.C. is again representing the debtor, having been debtor’s counsel for the 2012 case.
Affairs Afloat, Inc. voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief on October 15th, 2013. The petition was filed in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The case has been assigned to the Honorable Judge Burton R. Lifland, under case number 1:13-bk-13356. (Click case number for docket summary.)
The debtor is a river cruise operator that operates in New York City out of Pier 78 on West 38th Street. Affairs Afloat, Inc. was established in 1988 and provides services through its two river cruise ships, The Queen of Hearts (pictured right) and The Star of Palm Beach. The Queen of Hearts is a three level ship that is Coast Guard certified for 450 guests plus staff and crew. The Star of Palm Beach is a two level ship and is Coast Guard certified for 380 guests plus staff and crew.
Affairs Afloat hosts various cruises on specified dates in addition to its weekly cruises such as its Shadow Nightclub on Tuesday nights, Cruise Brasil on Wednesday nights, Candela Cruise on Thursday nights. Debtor also holds a Kiddie Cruise on Sunday afternoons. Debtor offers group packages for many of its events and its services are also available for private events. For more information about debtor’s programs and services please visit their website here.
Debtor claimed assets and liabilities of between $1 and $10 million with HSBC Bank, the Internal Revenue Service, the Security Exchange Commission. It appears that the Chapter 11 filing has not affected debtor’s operations as it is accepting reservations for cruises for Halloween and New Year’s Eve. Affairs Afloat, Inc. is represented by Jonathan S. Pasternak of DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr, LLP.
The following case is of particular interest to Salene since she is originally from Weirton, West Virginia and attended West Virginia University.
Freedom Industries, Inc. filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 17, 2014 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. The case has been assigned to the Honorable Ronald G. Pearson. Both assets and liabilities are estimated to be between $1 and $10 million. Approximately 700 creditors are listed in the petition including multiple WV state agencies, service companies, and private individuals. Multiple motions were filed along with the petition including motions to allow payments to essential trade vendors and to pay $2.4 million in unpaid taxes to the IRS. A summary of debtor’s filings can be found here.
Debtor is a specialty chemicals manufacturer founded in 1986 and located in Charleston, WV. It manufactures chemicals for the mining, steel, and cement industries and is wholly-owned by Chemstream Holdings, Inc. The Charleston chemical plant is located along the Elk River and has recently been widely publicized as the cause of a chemical spill that contaminated the Elk River on January 9th, 2014 which led to state and federal states of emergency being declared. The spill left 300,000 residents without running water for several days. The chemical that leaked into the river is used in coal processing. The local water supply is currently said to be safe for residents in the nine affected counties except for residents in certain towns. Additionally, pregnant women in the affected areas are advised to drink only bottled water at this time.
Debtor is represented by Mark E. Freedlander of McGuire Woods LLP and Stephen L. Thompson from Barth & Thompson. Debtor also filed a motion to Employ Pietragallo, Gordon, Alfano, Bosick, and Raspanti, LLP as Special Litigation Counsel.
DragonFire, Inc. filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 25th, 2013. The petition was filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and has been assigned case number 2:13-bk-24517. Debtor’s Disclosure Statement, Balance Sheet, Declaration of Schedules, and other documents were due by November 8th, 2013. For a complete list of the documents due please refer to the document summary.
Debtor is the corporate entity for DragonFire Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar located at 1500 Washington Rd. in the Gallery Mall in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. As the name suggests, DragonFire specializes in hibachi and sushi. For those unfamiliar with hibachi, it is a rectangular Japanese style barbecue grill. Customers often sit at a counter that spans three sides of the grill. The chef stands at the fourth side and prepares the meal (which typically consists of fried rice, vegetables, and various meats) with much fanfare. DragonFire also boasts a robata grill, a traditional Japanese slow grilling method. For more information about DragonFire, you can visit their website here.
Debtor has declared between $50k and $100k in assets with between $500k and $1 million in liabilities with approximately 20 creditors listed in the petition. Debtor is represented by Donald R. Calaiaro of Calaiaro & Corbett, P.C.
“Dance Moms” Instructor Abby Lee Miller Files for Chapter 11 Protection: Public Disclosure of Private Facts
Salene’s Preface: I was in Bankruptcy Court last week in Pittsburgh and noticed Abby walking into Court. (She is a stunning woman by the way and you can understand why she is on TV). I had to ask myself, “How do I know her?” I did figure it out pretty quickly. I was surprised to see her on my turf (that is in the world of commercial bankruptcy) and was not aware that Abby had filed for Ch. 11. My daughter is a dancer and I watch the show!
Abigale Lee Miller filed for Chapter 11 relief on January 3rd, 2011. The petition was filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania under petition number: 10-28606 TPA and has been overseen by the Honorable Judge Thomas P. Agresti.
Debtor is better known as Abby Lee Miller, the host and instructor for the popular Lifetime reality television show Dance Moms. The show follows a group mothers and their young daughters who are participating in the world of young competitive dance. The show takes place in Pittsburgh, PA at the debtor’s studio, the Abby Lee Dance Company, and follows the ladies as they travel across the country to various competitions. Dance Moms is currently holding open casting calls for its 4th season.
The Abby Lee Dance Company was formed 27 years ago as a not-for-profit organization and is an audition only program. It is located at 7123 Saltsburg Road, Pittsburgh, PA, 15235. Debtor is also the owner of Reign Dance Productions, which shares the building with The Abby Lee Dance Company.
Debtor has declared approximately $325,500 in assets with approximately $356,500 in liabilities. Thirty-four creditors are listed in the petition, with Chase Mortgage holding the largest unsecured claim in the amount of $50,000. This debt is the unsecured portion of what appears to be a $200,000 undersecured mortgage on a home of Ms. Miller’s in Florida valued at $150k. Ms. Miller’s dance studio has a $96,000 mortgage on it; the studio is valued at around $150,000 Ms. Miller owes about $27,000 in back taxes (which are unsecured priority claims). Her unsecured debt only totals $32,000, many of whom are vendors for her business.
The Second Amended Disclosure Statement was approved on January 18th, 2013 and the Order Approving Disclosure Statement and Scheduling Hearing on Plan Confirmation was entered into on October 21st, 2013. Please click here to for a copy of the order. The debtor is represented by Donald R. Calaiaro of Calaiaro & Corbett, P.C. The Confirmation Hearing to approve her Plan of Reorganization is set for December 12, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. EST. Please click here for a copy of the Disclosure Statement. A summary of the Chapter 11 plan can be found here.
Salene’s comment: We purposefully do not often write blog posts about individual Chapter 11 cases (usually filed by very wealth individuals. Most folks file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13). When a company or person files for bankruptcy, I warn my clients that you are subjecting yourselves to a “financial autopsy”; you are making a public filing of all of your assets and liabilities. So, information seekers can look up what your home is worth, what kind of car you drive, how much credit card debt you have, whether you own a fur coat, how much your wedding ring costs, and whether you have any money in an IRA/401k. Anyone can see how much money you have made in the last three years and they get to read what your monthly budget is for expenses. While there are certainly benefits to the privilege of filing for bankruptcy, public disclosure of private facts is certainly one of the drawbacks.
The entities in charge of the 1818 Market Street location for the Marathon Grill Philadelphia restaurant chain, 1818 Market Street Marathon Grill, Inc. and its general partner 1818 Market Street Marathon Grill Associates , filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) on October 9, 2013. 1818 Market Street Marathon Grill, Inc. is the corporate entity for the 1818 Market Street location and has been assigned to the Honorable Judge Magdeline D. Coleman under case number 2:13-bk-18861. 1818 Market Street Marathon Grill Associates, the partnership in charge of the location filed separately and has been assigned to the Honorable Judge Eric L. Frank under case number 2:13-bk-18863. (Please click the hyperlinks for docket summaries). Motions for Joint Administration of both cases were filed by each entity on October 9, 2013. The debtors listed the same creditors with the exception that 1818 Market Street Marathon Grill, Inc. also lists NNN 1818 Market, LLC, the building management company in charge of 1818 Market St.
The Marathon Grill began as a 10-seat hamburger restaurant in Northeast Philadelphia in 1984. It eventually grew into a six location restaurant chain before shrinking back down to operating three locations at 1818 Market St., 19th & Spruce St., and 16th & Sansom St. The bankruptcies affect the 1818 Market St. location, the largest of the three restaurants. The filings were made in response to learning that the landlord intended to take possession of the restaurant space over an ongoing dispute over unpaid back rent and fees of approximately $540,000.
1818 Market Street Marathon Grill Associates declared assets between $500,000 and $1 million with liabilities between $100,000 and $500,000. 1818 Market Street Marathon Grill, Inc. declared assets between $50,000 and $100,000 with liabilities between $1 and $10 million. The debtors entities are represented by Aris J. Karalis and Robert W. Seitzer of Maschmeyer Karalis P.C. The bankruptcies do not affect the other Marathon Grill locations and the debtors have pledged that the 1818 Market St. location will remain open during the bankruptcy proceedings.
Salene: In my younger years as a lawyer at Weir & Partners LLP in Philadelphia (2002-2004), I used to grab many late dinners at the Marathon Grill location at Sansom Street. It was hip, for sure. What is the formula for sustainability in the restaurant industry?