Phoenix Bankruptcy Law News

October 2011 Archives

Realty Executives Phoenix: Emerging from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Realty Executives Phoenix is emerging from the ashes of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing after a U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved its plan on Thursday to reorganize and become profitable again, reports the Phoenix Business Journal.

Realty Executives Phoenix, the largest franchise of Realty Executives International which has 900 agents in 11 offices, had filed for Chapter 11 in April after running into trouble with its leases.

“We got in a bind because of landlords not working with us,” said Rich Rector, owner of Realty Executives Phoenix.

Bureau of Labor: Arizona Job Market Hit by Unemployment Rate Spike

Recently-released figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paint a picture of how badly the Arizona job market has suffered under the economic crisis. Results show that the unemployment rate has almost tripled since the recession began in 2007, reports the Phoenix Business Journal.

Arizona reportedly had a 3.8 percent unemployment rate in September of 2007. In comparison, last month’s unemployment rate finished at 9.1 percent. The discrepancy between the two numbers represents one of the highest unemployment rate spikes in the nation. Only nine other states have higher numbers, according to the Bureau of Labor’s survey.

Foreclosures, Bankruptcy Shape Glendale Westgate City Center

The Glendale Westgate City Center was supposed to be “the Valley’s most dynamic mix of retail, restaurants, entertainment and nightlife.” Instead, it has become an amalgamation of stores operating under the burden of foreclosure and the Phoenix Coyotes’ recent bankruptcy woes, reports The Arizona Republic.

Steve Ellman, the Valley developer who was instrumental in bringing the Phoenix Coyotes and the Westgate City Center to Glendale, has already recently defaulted on hundreds of millions in loans due to the economy and the Coyotes’ bankruptcy filing, The Republic reported.

Can Bankruptcy Stop Foreclosure of Tucson Mexican Restaurants?

Just as private home owners are facing the loss of their homes by the threat of foreclosure, local businesses are also in danger of losing their properties. Three Tucson Mexican restaurants are facing foreclosure, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Their financial difficulties beg the question: Should business owners turn to Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to forestall the foreclosure process?

Due to defaulted loans, El Parador Restaurant, La Fuente Restaurant, and Casa Molina were recently notified that their properties had been scheduled for auction in January 2012. El Parador reportedly defaulted on a $1.1 million loan, La Fuente is delinquent on a $770,000 loan, and Casa Molina defaulted on a $450,000 loan, according to the Daily Star.

AZ Minimum Wage to Increase in January

The Arizona minimum wage will increase by 30 cents per hour in January, reports the Phoenix Business Journal. Although it may seem like a miniscule jump, the increase means minimum wage workers will earn an extra $625 per year.

Approximately 2 to 10 percent of Arizona workers earn the current minimum wage of $7.35, which is $0.10 more than the federal level. Federal law requires that most employees receive at least $7.25 per hour. Because Arizona’s minimum wage is tied to inflation rates and consumer prices, the state is required to increase the wage if the cost of living goes up, according to the Journal.

Pro Se Bankruptcy Filings Increase; AZ District Court in Top 3

With the current economic crisis, it’s no surprise that pro se bankruptcy filings have increased over the last five years. However, the number of people filing for bankruptcy on their own has rapidly outpaced the growth of overall bankruptcy filings, especially in the western United States, according to an Administrative Office analysis. In particular, Arizona’s District Court is one of the top three federal courts with the most pro se bankruptcy filings in the past year.

The district court’s pro se bankruptcy filings account for 20.8 percent of its total bankruptcy filings. Across the nation, pro se bankruptcy petitions have grown 187 percent over the past five years. In comparison, non-pro se bankruptcy petitions have only increased by 98 percent in the same time period.

Arizona Economy: Future Rollercoaster of Surpluses and Deficits?

If you thought the Arizona state budget has gone through a wild ride since the financial crisis, get ready for an Arizona economy facing more twists and turns. The state Finance Advisory Commitee is predicting surpluses for this year and next but looming deficits are on the horizon for 2014, reports The Arizona Republic.

Legislators shouldn't be surprised by the Finance Advisory Committee's projection of deficits. May 31, 2013, one month before the beginning of the 2014 fiscal year, marks the day when a temporary sales tax increase expires. Experts predict the economy could fall into a $610 million deficit when this happens.

'Sugar Daddy' Websites Target ASU Students with Student Debt?

Sure, student debt can be crippling and a daily nightmare to face. But there are ways to avoid or deal with tuition and other school fees. “Sugar daddy” websites, on the other hand, may not be the best alternative to dealing with debt; however, it hasn’t stopped solicitors from allegedly targeting cash-strapped ASU students for their “sugar daddy” customers, reports ABC15 News.

Occupy Phoenix Protest Decries U.S., Phoenix Economy Mismanagement

More than 1,000 members of the Occupy Phoenix movement took over downtown Phoenix over the weekend to blame the U.S. and Phoenix economy's woes on corporate greed and mismanagement, reports The Arizona Republic.

The Occupy Phoenix protest is just one example of demonstrations occurring across the country under the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, which decries alleged abuses by banks and major corporations against the "lower 99 percent" of the nation.

Amar'e Stoudemire Sells Phoenix Homes; Response to NBA Lockout Woes?

Former Phoenix Suns’ power forward Amar’e Stoudemire is cutting more ties to the Valley. The perennial All-Star has sold two of his Phoenix homes amid wonders that he’s liquidating his assets in preparation for a possible season-long NBA lockout, reports the Phoenix Business Journal.

Both of Stoudemire’s properties sold at a loss due to the current state of the housing market. His first property, a 7,500-square-foot beauty, sold for $2.75 million. Stoudemire initially paid $4.75 million for the mini-mansion in 2005.

Phoenix Small Business Owners: Stay Away From Daily Deal Sites?

With the lure of increasing business through the promise of a minimum number of customers in exchange for discounts, daily deal sites such as Groupon.com were supposed to be a Phoenix small business owners' best friend. However, they may have turned into a nightmare for some business owners who cannot keep up with the demand.

The Argentine Bean is one such customer that has fallen on hard times due to a coupon misunderstanding, reports ABC15 News. Owned by Arizona-bred entrepreneur Lori Meininger, the restaurant offered a half-off coupon through a daily deal site. Unfortunately, the coupon went viral and was sold on other sites, sometimes at the price of $4 for a $50 gift certificate.

Your First Credit Card: How to Prevent Future Debt Early

Ah, the sweet smell of plastic wafting from your first credit card. The sound “cha-ching” may have rung through your head a couple of times, and a vision of shopping bags may have already danced before your eyes. But before you take your first credit card out for its first swipe, you should consider which path you want to take with it - the road to financial ruin or the path to financial security?

The typical Arizonan has approximately $6,463 worth of credit card debt, around $178 more than the national average, according to a recent study from CreditKarma.com. Phoenicians are a little bit better with credit card debt, owing on average $5,922.

Debit Card and Bank Account Fees: Reactions and How to Deal

Financial institutions such as Bank of America have been feeling the heat from consumers after announcing they will either begin to charge monthly debit card fees or increase monthly checking account fees, reports NPR.

Bank of America announced late September that it will begin to charge debit card users a $5 monthly fee starting in 2012. Around the same time, Citibank announced it would raise monthly fees on its checking accounts, with some increasing by double.

The increase in fees is reportedly the banks' response to recent laws affecting the banks ability to charge retailers for debit card purchases. After one part of the law capped the fee, the banks began implementing plans to roll over upfront costs to consumers through the monthly fees.

Barnes & Noble Gets Personal Info in Borders Bankruptcy Auction

Borders Books may have gone bye-bye, but the repercussions of its financial troubles are still affecting its former customers months later.

During Borders' recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy auction in New York, fellow bookseller Barnes & Noble came away with the rights to the personal data of 45 million of its former competitor's customers, reports the Boston Herald.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing for Stirling Energy Systems

Stirling Energy Systems' reputation is sterling no more, and the Valley's solar energy scene took another hit. The solar energy company announced it was filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, reports the Phoenix Business Journal.

The company, reportedly once the Valley solar scene's brightest star, is in tens of millions of dollars of debt while reporting less than $10 million in assets, according to the Journal.

Based in Scottsdale, the company developed solar dish technology and provided energy to projects, such as the Salt River Project, through its plant. Stirling is part of NTR plc, a Dublin, Ireland-based renewable energy development company that has invested more than $100 million into its projects.

Real Mex Really Broke; Announces Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing

Restaurant chain Real Mex Restaurants Inc. - purveyors of “fresh” Mexican food through stores such as Chevy’s and El Torito - announced it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday and seeking a buyer, reports the Associated Press.

The California-based company reportedly has $272.2 million in assets but is $250 million in debt, according to its bankruptcy filing. Management has blamed the economic recession affecting consumers’ willingness to eat out as one of the main reasons for its declining sales.