'White Knight' Need to Save Connecticut Park
Strawberry Park campground owner Hyman Biber and his creditors have reached an agreement in federal bankruptcy court that gives Biber until Dec. 20 to fight or delay a court-ordered foreclosure sale of the Preston, Conn., property, attorneys for both sides said Monday (Dec. 6), the Norwich Bulletin reported.
The foreclosure auction sale is still set for Feb. 26 even as Biber, who filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of mounting debt, looks to “reorganize his affairs and those of the campground,” his attorney, Carl T. Gulliver, said.
While Gulliver said Biber’s ultimate goal is to retain ownership of the successful campground and RV park, attorney Mark Stern said that will not happen without a last-minute “white knight” or investor coming to the rescue.
Stern represents Preston Strawberry Associates of Norwalk, which claims it is due $3.4 million from a defaulted loan.
Stern said Monday’s agreement was an effort to ensure Biber does not try to delay the foreclosure sale with last-minute bankruptcy filings on behalf of the several different companies related to the campground.
“If he files for Chapter 11, he must do it before Dec. 20. We’ve eliminated his ability to file at the last minute,” Stern said.
On Dec. 20, Stern said the case, by agreement, converts from a Chapter 11 to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which does not allow for reorganization.
The campground was already a subject of a more than $8 million court judgment in favor of TD Bank. A court-appointed manager of the campground, James P. Tucciarone, reported Biber was regularly overdrawing bank accounts and had submitted a $13 million letter of commitment from Hard Rock Holdings, an investor who appears to be fictional, court records show.
“Mr. Biber admitted that he regularly had the company issue and deliver checks for which funds were not currently available and then tried to either earn or borrow the funds to make the good,” Tucciarone wrote.
Stern said Biber continued to borrow money to pay off old debts.
“He’s been borrowing money to keep it going … telling people he’s going to pay, he’s going to pay,” Stern said. “Everybody wanted to believe what he’s saying is true. Everybody wanted to believe Bernie Madoff …”
Presently, Elite Resorts, a Florida-based company, is running the campground. Stern said he expects the foreclosure sale to happen in February, and “hopefully we’ll have a sale and a new owner.”