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Feds sue developer Premier over raid on retirement accounts

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Executives of defunct Indianapolis developer Premier Properties USA Inc. are negotiating to settle a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Labor that claims the company raided employee retirement accounts in a last-ditch bid to save itself in early 2008.

The government has accused founder Christopher P. White, general counsel Bruce E. Smith and vice president Judy K. Schnettgoecke of misappropriating about $46,000 of employee contributions to a 401(k) plan between Jan. 1, 2008 and March 18, 2008.

The case, filed in June in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, alleges Premier and its top executives violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, in failing to "discharge their duties with respect to the plan solely in the interest of the participants and beneficiaries."

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has asked the court to order the Premier executives to repay the misappropriated funds and pay for an independent firm to wind down the plan. The department also is asking for the court to ban each of the defendants from serving as fiduciaries to any ERISA-covered plan in the future.

None of the defendants has filed a response to the case, citing ongoing settlement discussions. The court on Oct. 15 issued a stay in the case so the parties can proceed with settlement talks.

Premier, which developed dozens of projects, including Plainfield's Metropolis mall, imploded at the peak of the credit crunch two years ago, leaving its high-flying founder with little to show for years of successful development.

White took on daring projects with little margin for error, often in unproven retail markets like Plainfield. He also developed ambitious projects in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada. But when credit markets tightened, his luck ran out.

Premier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2008. A month later, a judge converted the case to Chapter 7 and ordered the company liquidated.

Last year, White was sentenced to one year on home detention and three years of probation in connection with a $500,000 bad check he wrote as he tried to save the company.

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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

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