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Park Owner’s Bankruptcy Hearing to Resume Dec. 6

November 19, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

A brief hearing in Hartford, Conn., on Thursday (Nov. 18) in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of Hyman Biber, the operator of the Strawberry Park Campground in Preston, Conn., has been continued to a daylong hearing Dec. 6 on financial improprieties alleged against Biber, theday.com, New London, reported.

Judge Albert S. Dabrowski of the Connecticut District of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court cleared his calendar for Dec. 6 and said Dec. 7 may also be available, if needed.

The hearing Thursday was intended to cover four separate but related motions that were filed by various parties in the bankruptcy case, including a request by Preston Strawberry Funding Associates of Norwalk to convert the proceeding from Chapter 11, which allows reorganization, to Chapter 7, which does not.

Mark Stern, an attorney for the Norwalk group that is owed more than $3.4 million, had asked Dabrowski to take half an hour Thursday to hear allegations surrounding Biber’s alleged systematic overdrawing of bank accounts and to consider ordering oversight from the Office of the U.S. Trustee.

Based in the U.S. Department of Justice, that trustee office monitors the conduct of bankruptcy parties and is empowered to investigate allegations of bankruptcy fraud and abuse.

But Biber’s lawyer, Carl Gulliver, indicated he needed more time to assess the allegations levied in a 26-page affidavit filed in the case Wednesday by a co-manager appointed by the New London Superior Court.

The co-manager, James P. Tucciarone, a receiver of rents from the campground, was appointed in TD Bank’s lawsuit for mortgage default against various companies, some for which Biber is listed as a principal or agent. He reported that Biber systematically overdrew bank accounts and created a limited liability company last year to avoid the claims of creditors and keep the campground running.

In the bank’s case, New London Superior Court has entered a judgment for the bank of more than $8 million, and set a date of Feb. 26 for the campground to be auctioned at a foreclosure sale.

Tucciarone has since stepped down from his post, saying he could no longer fulfill the court order to function as receiver without violating it because of the improprieties he allegedly uncovered.

Dabrowski agreed to hear all four motions and representations about the allegations on Dec. 6 and 7.

After the hearing, Biber said he was upset about the allegations, which he maintains are unfounded, noting, “I think we’ll have a chance to present our view.”

Gulliver also informed the court that there are at least two potential investors looking at the 160-acre property.

“I’ve spoken with their attorneys and principals, and there may be others Mr. Biber is speaking with also,” Gulliver said of the potential investors. “They are very serious and financially stable. They could do this if they decide to.”

Gulliver and Biber would not disclose the identities of those investors.

“We’re happy if he finds a lender,” said Stern, “but we’ve been waiting two years for that.”

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