Royal Arkansas Files for Bankruptcy Protection

The rocky history of The Royal Arkansas Hotel & Suites Inc. in Pine Bluff added another chapter recently when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Royal doesn't own its flagship, The Royal Arkansas Hotel & Suites, which is connected to the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

The Royal lost the property back in July as a result of defaulting on $1.4 million worth of loans from Zions First National Bank of Salt Lake City. The bank bought the property at a foreclosure sale and sold it last week to Colorado hotelier Bruce Rahmani.

The Royal corporation, though, still owns another hotel and that wasn't doing so well.

The Memphis International Airport Hotel appears to be the reason The Royal took the Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection route. 

The company didn't list the exact amount of money it owed or what its assets were worth, but both were over $1 million.

The firm is expected to file a more detailed bankruptcy listing later. But creditors holding the largest unsecured claims include Otis Maintenance of Little Rock, $49,500; Sysco of Little Rock, $49,200; and Ed Neal Home Repair Inc. of Pine Bluff, $25,600. 

The hotel's bankruptcy attorney, Jimmy Eaton of North Little Rock, didn't return calls for comment.

And the owner of the Royal, IBAC Corp., a New York sub-penny stock company, couldn't be tracked down either.

IBAC bought the Pine Bluff Convention Center Hotel in 2004 for $1.6 million. Between August 2006 and February, the hotel lost $1 million. The bottom came on Feb. 5, when the hotel unexpectedly shut its doors, leaving behind several unhappy creditors.

A receiver was appointed and the hotel reopened in March.

It's hard to tell what happened to IBAC since then. It appears IBAC has acquired Three Sixty Inc. of Athens, Ga., which included such products as OTC Hangover Relief in its portfolio.

The person who signed off on the bankruptcy petition was Wayne Burmaster, who was IBAC's president last year. Now he's listed as the Royal Arkansas' vice president.