Premier Properties and Real Estate & Retail

Boberschmidt appointed Premier trustee

June 2, 2008
Philip Boberschmidt of the downtown law firm of Boberschmidt and Powers has been appointed trustee to oversee liquidation of Premier Properties USA - a task that begins today.

Boberschmidt, who specializes in bankruptcy liquidations,
gains control of the files after U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Basil H. Lorch III on Friday reclassified the bankruptcy from Chapter 11 reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation.

The transition to Chapter 7 ended Premier founder Christopher P. White's hopes of resurrecting the Indianapolis development firm.

White had been trying to raise money to save the 15-year-old company, which developed numerous high profile retail projects, including the Metropolis mall in Plainfield.

Premier sought bankruptcy protection April 23, listing debts of more than $2.8 million to 20 creditors - not including millions of dollars in unpaid bills related to specific properties. White and his company also face a slew of lawsuits, alleging unpaid bills, defaulted loans and check fraud.

There won't be many assets left, Henry Efroymson, an Ice Miller attorney who represents Atlanta-based Dominion Capital Management LLC, said Friday. Dominion is a Premier creditor that took control of most of its properties last month.

"If there's going to be a distribution to creditors, it's going to be very small," Efroymson said. "There isn't much left ... this was a management company."

During the hearing, Efroymson also asked that Dominion Capital be given full access to Premier's records. He said his client had received the "lion's share" of records on Premier's properties, but needed to review the company's computer hard drives to retrieve the rest of the data.

Some of those hard drives have been moved to White's home, said William J. Tucker, Premier's bankruptcy attorney. But Tucker said a backup of the files has been made and he said that Premier has not hidden or removed anything.

Still, Efroymson said he was concerned, since the trustee wouldn't take control of the files until today.

"The concern now is there is nobody in place ensuring the data remains on the computers and servers," he said Friday.

Friday's decision also will provide little relief to Premier's former employees, many of whom have not been paid for at least eight weeks.

"I don't see that there's going to be any funds for former employees," Efroymson said.

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