Bankruptcy trustee wants Miller the Driller attorney ousted
Friday, March 25, 2011 7:00 AM
A U.S. bankruptcy court trustee claims that the attorney representing Gene Miller Co. in its financial reorganization should be removed because he also represents company principals in a state court matter.
James Snyder, assistant trustee for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Iowa in Des Moines, filed the motion after learning that attorney Jerrold Wanek had filed counterclaims in a lawsuit brought by Valley Bank against Eugene and Martha Miller, their daughter Kristine Young and their grandson Brandon Young.
Kristine Young is listed in court documents as president and CEO of the company founded by her father. Brandon Young is listed as vice president of operations. Eugene Miller is listed as chairman of the board emeritus and Martha Miller is identified as vice president and secretary.
Kristine Young has a 52 percent interest in the company, Brandon Young and Martha Miller each having a 24 percent stake.
The Pleasant Hill company filed Jan. 11 to reorganize its finances under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy laws. In a later filing, the company listed assets of $2.3 million and debts of $6 million, including $768,686 in federal taxes and $347,519 in contributions to benefit plans covering union workers.
In addition, the company claimed anticipated net income of $173,000 on $1.6 million in receivables.
Members of the family-owned business also face a lawsuit in Polk County District Court after they personally guaranteed loans with Valley Bank. The lender said in a court filing that Gene Miller Co. had defaulted on three loans totaling $2.8 million.
Wanek claimed in a filing in that case that Valley Bank illegally sought personal guarantees on the loan from the Millers and Youngs. It was that filing that Valley Bank attorneys emailed to Snyder.
A hearing on whether to dismiss Wanek from the bankruptcy case is scheduled for April 4.
The U.S. trustee and Valley Bank also have filed motions to dismiss the bankruptcy case, claiming that Gene Miller Co. stands little chance of reorganizing its finances. A hearing is set for June 9.