Deadbeat Advocate owners pull 11th hour Chapter 11 scam
By Linda Bentley | June 26, 2008
Playing the system to continue ripping people off
PHOENIX – Thomas and Karen Seemeyer, who own the Desert Advocate, LLC, have been ripping people off for decades and have learned how to play the legal system to their advantage.
When Thomas Seemeyer showed up in Maricopa County Superior Court before Judge Thomas Dunevant III on June 2, 2008 for a hearing on Freedom Arizona Information Inc.’s “Order To Show Cause Why A Receiver Should Not Be Appointed” to foreclose on the Desert Advocate in order to collect the $435,640.83 owed, Seemeyer was informed because he is not a licensed attorney, he cannot represent the LLC.
Seemeyer knows full well the court will not allow a lay person to represent a corporate entity.
However, once again, Seemeyer played a judge for a fool and showed up without an attorney and requested a continuance for the purpose of obtaining counsel.
The continuance was granted, setting the evidentiary hearing at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 24, with the admonishment Seemeyer would need to inform any retained counsel of the date and time of the hearing.
Seemeyer retained Attorney James M. Laganke, who has represented the Seemeyers in their bankruptcy filings since 1991, and who, at 5:11 p.m. on June 23, the night before his hearing, electronically filed a Chapter 11 voluntary petition for bankruptcy on behalf of Thomas Seemeyer.
However, the actual petition was filed in the name of the Desert Advocate, not Seemeyer, using a date of June 20, 2008, rather than June 23, when it was electronically filed.
A copy of the voluntary petition was then forwarded to Dunevant, who noted in his June 24 minute entry the Desert Advocate had filed a petition under the bankruptcy code on June 20 and ordered the case/claim placed on the inactive calendar until Dec. 22, 2008 (180 days).
Dunevant further stated the case/claim would be dismissed on Dec. 22, 2008 unless prior to the scheduled dismissal date Freedom Information demonstrates it has moved to lift the stay, sought to reduce the claim(s) against the debtor, obtained severance of the claim or somehow demonstrated a reasonable basis for continuance of the case on the inactive calendar.
When Leganke filed Seemeyer’s petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, none of the schedules or statements were included, nor was the mailing list of creditors, which the court affirmed must be uploaded no later than five calendar days of filing the petition or it could result in dismissal of the case without further notice.
Perhaps the voluntary petition was filed under the Desert Advocate, so Seemeyer could truthfully state “none” where the petition asked to state all prior bankruptcy cases filed within the last eight years.
The Seemeyers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sept. 28, 2001, which Leganke ought to have known, since he was the one who represented them.
Chapter 11 allows a business to remain in operation as it reorganizes its debt. So, with their 11th hour filing for Chapter 11, the Seemeyers were not only able to avoid the order to show cause hearing as to why a receiver shouldn’t be appointed, they are afforded another opportunity to continue swindling advertisers and charging rates that defy their actual circulation.
Although they may be printing a few thousand papers each week, the Seemeyers are only distributing a fraction of what they are printing, as they cannot get the post office to mail them or a driver to deliver papers to racks without payment.
In order for the Seemeyers to file bankruptcy as individuals, the new bankruptcy laws require they first go through credit counseling, in which case their 11th hour filing on the evening before their order to show cause hearing would not have afforded them the time.
However, on June 24, the day after Seemeyer’s voluntary petition was filed, the clerk of the court issued a notice of error and/or deficiencies in Leganke’s electronically filed documents, stating: “The petition uploaded is not for debtor Thomas Seemeyer. Please docket and upload the correct document using amendment to petition.”
Apparently, Leganke and/or Seemeyer saw no pressing need to straighten anything out with the court, now that the order to show cause hearing was docked at bay for 180 days.
Meanwhile, the Seemeyers’ personal financial woes are avalanching as well with their home in New River up for another trustee sale at 11:30 a.m. on August 29, 2008.
It appears American General Home Equity, Inc., which granted the Seemeyers a $100,000 home equity line of credit a year ago, purchased the first mortgage when the last trustee sale was cancelled.
The Statement of Breach or Non-performance included with the Notice of Trustee Sale cites the nature of the breach or non-performance as follows: “The non-payment of principal and/or interest from October 2007 and all subsequent payments, plus all late charges and impounds due.”
The Seemeyers still owe the IRS over $250,000 in payroll taxes, sales tax to both Cave Creek and Carefree and now Saab is going after not just the Seemeyers, but also Karen Seemeyer’s father, who is actually the responsible party for the vehicle since his wife’s death.
However, Karen Seemeyer appropriated the Saab convertible from her now deceased mother, refuses to make payments and has been hiding the vehicle, while Saab posted a $38,750 bond for the right to repossess the vehicle.
Both Seemeyer and her father have subsequently been served with a notice of lawsuit.
For decades, the Seemeyers’ trademark has been that of gaming the legal system while ripping off customers, vendors and employees. Karen Seemeyer has now expanded on that M.O. by dragging her innocent father into the fray.