Debt is more than just a four letter word, a reality Matt DiNofia of La Jolla Development Group, LLC knows well. To individuals or businesses faced with mounting debt, it feels like a physical weight bearing down on all decisions. Debt can be life-changing, and while in the midst of it, there seems to be no manageable way out. With the effects of a slumping housing market still lingering, many homeowners are facing the burden and emotional stress of their debt.
As the real estate firm's chief executive, Matt DiNofia has used his two decades of experience to help rescue many people burdened with huge debt. He says the key is to take advantage of the opportunities available, particularly the protection afforded by filing for Chapter 11. “Bankruptcy protection can often give life to a struggling business or property and provide a path to solvency,” says Matt.
Matt DiNofia Explains Country Club Turnaround
Many large properties can incur debt over time. Escondido Country Club was one of Southern California’s premier country clubs. Taking advantage of a Chapter 11 filing, LaJolla Development was able to purchase the property and operate it at a substantial profit.
“We separated the property into two entities, one of which was placed into bankruptcy,” says DiNofia. This allowed for the company to survive and access additional funds through the portion of the company that was not in bankruptcy.
The company was able to do this only because of their expertise in bankruptcy protection. With that in mind, we asked Matt DiNofia to guide us around some of the benefits of a Chapter 11 filing.
Peace of Mind
It is very difficult to take the time to asses all your options when you are in the middle of a financial crisis,” he says. “Filing for Chapter 11 protection is designed to help a business or individual consolidate the debt and light the path to recovery.”
Matt DiNofia understands the difficulty that mounting debt creates when individuals are attempting to make calm, rational decisions. “That is what a Chapter 11 filing is intended to do,” he states. Many can regain their financial footing once they are free to concentrate on running their business.
Benefits of Protection
An automatic stay: This gives an automatic injunction of all lawsuits, foreclosures, repossessions, bank levies, wage garnishments, and any other collection activities. “This is particularly helpful when facing aggressive collectors,” says Matt DiNofia. The first step in reorganization is to give the debtor time an opportunity to regroup.
Preservation of a going concern: Freedom from creditors allows for peace of mind. The ability to continue operating the business means that the business name, goodwill, and customer base are not lost. “A Chapter 11 filing gives the business a chance to show the operation is still viable” Matt DiNofia continues.
Interest Relief: If your operation is burdened by excessively high interest rates, a Chapter 11 filing can bring some relief. “To some concerns,” notes DiNofia, “this can be the difference between survival and failure.”
Accelerated Obligations Removed: “When a debtor is in default, many lending institutions will accelerate the payment,” cautions Matt. Many lenders will require payment in full, in one lump, instead of in regular payments. Provisions in a Chapter 11 filing can return the payments to their original pre-default amount.
Sale of Assets: “The Chapter 11 court may allow a buyer to purchase assets free and clear of any encumbrances,” advises Matt DiNofia. Money can then be used to reduce debt or assist in operating the business.
Tax Obligations Extended: “Filing for Chapter 11 opens up the debtor to take advantage of a bankruptcy code, which can extend payment of unsecured tax debts for up to five years,” reveals Matt DiNofia. This can give the debtor some relief both financially and emotionally.
Recover Liens. Wages & Vehicles: It is possible, once bankruptcy protection is afforded, to avoid and recover or remove selected encumbrances. This can include bank levies, wage garnishments, lien notices, or even vehicles or equipment repossessions. The protection is retroactive, and includes actions that occurred prior to the filing of the bankruptcy.
These are just some of the many advantages available when filing for Chapter 11 protection. Depending on the situation, there may be more.
When your livelihood or home is at stake, having an experienced objective professional at your side can help to get back on a firm financial footing. A shared burden makes the burden lighter. Says Matt DiNofia, “Filing for Chapter11 is not an end -- it is a beginning. The process can seem daunting, which is why most companies and individuals turn to a bankruptcy professional.”