Auction of Continental Express Property Yields More Than $600,000, Texas Bank Produces Steady Income for Harveys

The last asset of Continental Express Inc. went the way of the auction block on Sept. 8.

The defunct trucking firm's Little Rock facility at 7820 Zeuber Road and more than 100 acres near the Little Rock Port Industrial Park were sliced into six pieces and sold in combined transactions that topped $600,000.

About 20 people showed up at the sale conducted by Blackmon Auctions. Of the seven bidders, four acquired one or more of the parcels.

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So far, details of who bought what haven't hit the public record.

Metropolitan National Bank held a $1.7 million claim against the property. However, the Little Rock lender allowed ownership to shift through foreclosure to an entity controlled by Bonnie Harvey as part of a settlement to a long-running legal dispute.

The unusual arrangement is viewed as a means to maximize the sale and minimize the Harvey family's remaining liability to Metropolitan.

Bonnie Harvey, the wife and legal guardian of Continental Express founder Ed Harvey, took title to the trucking property in the name of Salmon Holdings LLC.

The name appears to be a symbolic nod to the persevering fish renowned for its ability to swim upstream.

For the past four years, the Harveys have been swimming against a fast-moving stream of debt and creditors threatening to wash away their purported net worth of $40 million.

Five days after the Salmon Holdings auction, the property remains dormant. The western 56.2 acres, a mixture of woods and cleared land, were divided into two equal parcels for auction. The eastern 28.6 acres are mostly farmland, cut into two parcels of 7.5 acres each and an L-shaped 13.6 acre tract.

The middle 25.2 acres is home to the trucking company facilities, office buildings with more than 10,600 SF under roof, and a 16,000-SF service garage.

In 2007, the property was home to a company that generated revenue of $94 million, operated a fleet that once numbered more than 500 trucks and employed 700.

The fenced entryway is padlocked, and unchecked greenery obscures the six-step instructions for drivers to follow after shutting off their engine while at gate check-in.

Nearby, weeds have overgrown a toppled section of chainlink fencing and razor wire. The post for a 5-mph speed sign doubles as a mount for the company mailbox, crowned by a dead vine.


Preston National Bank Generates Years of Income for the Harvey Family

Amid the financial chaos of Ed Harvey's business holdings, one asset has proven to be a reliable source of cash over the years: Preston National Bank. During the past decade alone, the Dallas bank cranked out nearly $11.4 million in profits. Most of that money flowed to Harvey and his wife, Bonnie, who own 99.2 percent of the lender.

The Harveys have reaped more than $7.2 million in cash dividends since 2001.  In recent years, quarterly dividends from Preston National likely became the single largest source of steady income for the couple, based on the testimony of their financial adviser, Marvin Jones.

During the past 10 years, the one-location enterprise has grown from total assets of less than $37 million to more than $56 million as of June 30. Of the 100 FDIC-insured lenders doing business in the Dallas County market, Preston National ranked No. 72 in terms of total deposits. Total staff: 20.

The bank's equity capital stood at $4.1 million at year-end 2001. As of June 30, the figure totaled nearly $8 million. The Harvey family's stake in the bank is worth nearly $9.5 million using a simple book value multiple of 1.2. Ownership of the company's stock largely has shifted to Bonnie, who has held 99 percent of the shares since September 2008.