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Roles Shift in Golden Bankruptcy

2 min read

The early stages of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy of Lex and Ellen Golden have had a revolving door quality.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Phyllis Jones stepped down as the presiding judge in the Little Rock couple’s case, which listed debts of $7.7 million and assets of $1.9 million. She was replaced by Ben Barry on March 20.

You might recall Barry oversaw the Chapter-11-turned-Chapter-7 bankruptcy of a Golden enterprise: Acme Holding Co., parent company of the now-defunct Allied Bank of Mulberry.

Tripp Wetzel initially was listed as bankruptcy trustee for the case. However, his Little Rock law firm also is listed among the Goldens’ creditors: $4,872 owed for unpaid legal services.

Wetzel officially left the bankruptcy case on March 8. His would-be successor, James Dowden, declined the appointment the next day when Randy Rice was named trustee.

Wetzel’s firm defended the Goldens in a loan guarantee lawsuit brought by Chambers Bank of Danville that ended in a $2 million judgment in favor of the bank.

In related news:

The Goldens’ bankruptcy attorney, Kevin Keech of Little Rock, accepted a combination of $6,250 and household goods valued at $6,850 as payment for his services.

According to their bankruptcy petition, the Goldens are upside down on their Little Rock residence. The 4,600-SF house near the Country Club of Little Rock is encumbered by two mortgages totaling $928,647 while the property is valued at only $862,500.

U.S. Bank of Cincinnati holds a first mortgage claim of $719,933 on an original $825,000 loan in December 2010. Riverside Bank of Sparkman holds a second mortgage claim of $208,714 from a January 2015 loan of $200,875.

Despite the negative math, the Goldens claim an exemption on the house indicating they intend to stay put.

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