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Turner Grain Trustee Asks for Chapter 7 Liquidation

2 min read

(Editor’s Note: A correction has been made to this article. See the end of the article for details.)

The trustee for Turner Grain Merchandising Inc. of Brinkley has requested its bankruptcy case be converted from reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation.

The acting United States trustee, Daniel Casamatta, said in a motion that Turner Grain has “ceased operations and there is no likelihood or intent for rehabilitation or reorganization.”

And keeping the company in Chapter 11 is just costing the company additional administrative expenses, he said.

Turner was forced into receivership in September, and then it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 23, listing $24.8 million in debts and $13.8 million in assets.

Turner Grain was referred to in the industry as a “principal” or “jobber” rather than a broker. A jobber actually contracts to buy and take possession of a farmer’s grain and delivers it to the ultimate buyer.

Casamatta also complained in his motion that Turner Grain hasn’t filed monthly operating reports as required.

“Operating reports are a source of vital financial information which creditors and other parties in interest may access in order to make an informed decision on the merits of the debtor’s disclosure statement and plan,” he wrote.

Turner’s claims register showed that between Nov. 3 and last week, 27 claims totaling $7.5 million have been filed against Turner.

If you recall, Jason Coleman and Dale C. Bartlett founded Turner Grain in 2002. Bartlett said in testimony in his personal bankruptcy case that he sold his share of the company for just $5,000 in February 2014, months before angry farmers began suing Turner Grain for millions of dollars owed on crops.

Bartlett, 45, filed for his own bankruptcy protection on Sept. 5 and listed $5.5 million in debts and $2 million in assets. Bartlett’s claims register, though, showed a total amount of $48.65 million as of last week.

Coleman hasn’t filed for bankruptcy protection.

Kevin Keech of North Little Rock, the bankruptcy attorney for Turner Grain, didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

(Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the trustee was misidentified as Joseph DiPietro of Little Rock. The story has been corrected.)

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