|By Jerry W. Jackson, The Orlando
Sentinel, Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 1, 2008 - The credit squeeze and slumping real-estate market claimed another local corporate victim this week, as an Orlando-based resort-development company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization.
Land Resource LLC had earlier this year closed most of its sales offices in five states and slashed its staff by more than half to about 100 people. The company on Thursday filed a voluntary bankruptcy petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Orlando, along with a number of related companies. That allows it to continue operating while it crafts a reorganization plan, though many companies eventually convert to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to liquidate their assets and cease operations.
In its main filing, Land Resource estimated that it had debts of more than $50 million and assets of at least $100 million. The company indicated that it expected funds would be available for the court to distribute to unsecured creditors, once exempt property was excluded and expenses paid.
The company listed more than $1 million owed to its 20 largest unsecured creditors, including $423,241 owed to Prudential Relocation Inc.
Land Resource also listed the Atlanta Braves baseball team as an unsecured creditor, with $50,000 outstanding.
Mike Flaskey, chief executive officer and a former Orlando-area time-share executive, moved the company's headquarters to Orlando in 2007 from Atlanta. He said at the time that it was to be near the pool of time-share sales talent in Orlando, as Land Resource used similar marketing and sales strategies to sell lots in resort locations such as the Carolinas.
The company's founder, longtime Atlanta developer J. Robert Ward, who also lives in Windermere, was listed in the bankruptcy filing as the largest shareholder in the privately held limited-liability company, with 79.9 percent of the stock. Two Ward family trusts controlled most of the rest.
A number of related companies with the same Millenia Lakes Boulevard address also filed Chapter 11 petitions Thursday, listing smaller amounts of debts and assets. Among them: Land Resource Group Inc., LR Buffalo Creek LLC and Laird Point Brokerage LLC.
LR Buffalo Creek listed assets of at least $10 million and debts exceeding $1 million, including more than $1.5 million owed to its 20 largest unsecured creditors. A.B. Sitework Inc. of Hampton Cove, Ala., was the largest, owed $868,523.
Jerry W. Jackson can be reached at 407-420-5721 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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