Bankruptcy Didn't Stop Barber From Living the Good Life

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Dec. 6, 2010 12:00 am  

Still, Barber pushed forward.

In 2006, The Barber Group said it had an estimated 2,200 residential lots in various stages of planning or development.

"I think market absorption is all relative to what market you're going after," Barber said in a 2006 e-mail to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. "Obviously, there are some positives to supply catching up to demand because it will weed out some of our competitors."

But the market didn't improve. And it didn't help that Barber's debts were mounting. His bankruptcy filing shows a gambling debt of $125,000, owed to the Bellagio in Las Vegas, incurred between 2006 and 2007. Barber's total gambling debts to various casinos total more than $280,000, his bankruptcy filing shows.

Barber's financial situation didn't get better in 2007. The first wave of foreclosures and collection lawsuits hit Barber and his related companies that year.

The Legacy Building, which cost more than $19 million to build, was carrying $18.7 million worth of debt when it was foreclosed upon in July 2008. Legacy National Bank acquired the property in an $11.25 million foreclosure sale in November 2008.

By 2009, Barber or his companies were named in 34 lawsuits; in 13 of those cases, a judgment had been entered against him.

His personal life was crumbling too. After 10 years of marriage and two children, Keri Barber filed for divorce in December 2008. A divorce decree was entered on Dec. 22, 2009, in Washington County Circuit Court.

Briefcase of Cash

On Oct. 6, 2008, Barber formed a new company called Nware Investments just days after he was hit with a judgment of $2.3 million to an entity called CGCMT 2006-C5 Springdale LLC tied to a foreclosure lawsuit.

Ney, Legacy National Bank's attorney, maintained Barber used the Nware bank account to avoid paying creditors and would use complex transactions to put money into the account.

Barber testified that he used the account because he couldn't open a personal checking account at that time. But Ney pointed out in the hearing that Barber had several existing checking accounts that he could have used.

 

 

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