The trustee for the corporate holdings of Jeffrey Prosser, the bankrupt former owner and CEO of Innovative Telephone, reported completed and planned payments to various Prosser-related pension plans of more than $17 million.
In a report to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court dated May 6, Trustee Stan Springel said that he was working with the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), a federal government entity, and that $6.6 million in payments had been made to pension plans.
In addition, following the sale of some real estate in St. Croix, reported earlier, approximately $2.4 million had been delivered to the ICC Consolidated Pension Plan Trust. An additional $8 million payment will be made following the formal sale of ICC to Prosser’s principal lender, the Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative. These payments add up to a little more than $17 million.
The total amount owed to PBGC was not recorded in the report; the payments include both those made for current obligations, as well as catch-up payments.
That these moneys went to meet the pension obligations of Prosser’s former firms was clear, but the distribution among various pension accounts was not.
Court Prepares to Sell Prosser’s Florida Mansion
Elsewhere in the Prosser cases (there are dozens of them in various courts), the other trustee in the case, James P. Carroll, who is looking after what had been Prosser’s personal holdings, won an order from the U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Judith Fitzgerald that allows Carroll to go ahead with preparing to sell the Prosser mansion in Florida, where, according to court documents, the Prossers are now living.
Typically in court cases, opposing lawyers make motions and present draft court orders; the judge then signs the one she approves, and discards the other. In this case, Fitzgerald heavily modified, in pen, the order presented by Carroll, making it clear that while the marketing could go forward, the disposition of moneys secured would have to wait for further court rulings.
Pending before her are various motions by Prosser, by Springel, and by one of the other creditors, the Greenlight Companies, making various claims to ownership of the mansion. The summary judgment won by Carroll did, at least for the moment, seem to eliminate Prosser’s wife’s claim to the property.
The complexities about who really owns the Florida mansion represent just a fraction of the litigation pending. According to a footnote of Springel’s latest monthly report to the court: "During the pendency of Prosser’s and the Corporate Debtors’ respective bankruptcy cases, Prosser, members of his family and those acting at his behest have initiated approximately 43-appellate-level cases."
The approximately 43 appellate-level cases are a small fraction of the various suits and counter-suits in these cases, most of which took place at the trial court-level.
In one of the main bankruptcy cases the court records show that 2,845 motions, orders, and other formal actions are on the books, and in another it is 1,716, as of May 15, 2010.
Prosser Lawyer to Possibly Seek Public Office
Meanwhile, in a separate dispute—Prosser’s efforts to discredit the testimony of his former valet, Arthur Stelzer, about the destruction of financial records on various hard drives owned by Prosser—we learn that one of Prosser’s lawyers, Jeffrey B.C. Moorhead of St Croix, is apparently thinking of running for public office this fall.
In a document related to the timing of this court matter there is this statement: "Mr. Moorhead indicated, however, that he does not consent to a trial date in October or November 2010 because he intends to run for public office, and consequently will be otherwise engaged during those two months."
The Federal judge sitting on the case, Timothy Savage, who visits the territory but has his home courtroom in Pennsylvania, denied the delaying motion and ordered the trial to proceed on its original schedule. That may complicate Moorhead’s autumn.