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From: lewis.perdue@wineindustryinsight.com

Subject: Stevenot Deedholder Urges Foreclosure; Gallo Glass Lays Off 45 - WINE INDUSTRY INSIGHT

Date: 2009-02-05 12:26:23

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Wine Industry Insight

Stevenot Deedholder Urges Foreclosure; 2008 Owner Draws = $841,000

The deedholder for Stevenot Winery’s real estate has asked for Chapter 11 proceedings to be tossed so that it can foreclose on the property.

A hearing on the request by BaySierra Financial will be held in Modesto at 10:30 a.m., on Feb. 18 at the Federal Bankruptcy Court. A status hearing is still scheduled for Feb. 11 (See  Stevenot Winery Chapt 11 Hearing & Creditors’ Meeting Set).

According to court documents, in January 2006, BaySierra (doing business as Santa Rosa Mortgage and Investment Co.) made a $2,470,000 loan to Stevenot (operating as Golden Eagle Estates LLC), secured by a first trust deed on the property at 2690 and 2525 Sheep Ranch Road, Murphys, CA.

NO PAYMENTS SINCE DECEMBER 2007

BaySierra’s filings said that Stevenot had failed to make any payments since December 2007 on the 11-percent, interest-only loan. Accumulated payments, plus late charges, amount to $323,775.90. As a result, BaySierra has requested a “Relief from Stay” which would remove prohibitions that currently prevent it from foreclosing on the real estate.

Stevenot’s Jan. 9, 2007 Chapter 11 filing was precipitated by foreclosure proceedings brought by Bay Sierra.

The Stevenot loan was underwritten with BaySierra’s own accounts and by the retirement or trust funds from four private individuals.

Winegrape growers and industry suppliers have born the brunt of the bankruptcy. (See Stevenot Files Ch. 11 For Second Time).

FINANCIALS DETAIL SIGNIFICANT REVENUE DECLINE

Stevenot’s “Statement of Financial Affairs” filed with the court show that the winery’s 2008 sales totaled $2,598,595, down 14 percent from $3,028,177 in 2007.

The court statement also shows legal proceedings brought against the winery by four California companies:

  • Silvaspoons Vineyards, Galt,
  • W.H. Breshears, Sonora,
  • Raft River Vineyards, San Andreas,
  • The Wallace Group, San Luis Obispo.

MUNARI’S CASH WITHDRAWALS TOTALED $841,522.90 IN 2008

Bankruptcy attorneys interviewed by Wine Industry Insight noted that debtors filing Chapter 11 are required to disclose payments for debts, goods and services made within 90 days of the filing.

In addition, the debtor is required to detail funds withdrawn by or assets transferred to company insiders for the previous year.

Stevenot’s filings stated that Jack Munari – who owns 100% of Golden Eagle Estates LLC – received $841,522.90 from the company’s “Owner Draws” account. Of that, checks issued showed:

  • $499, 250 to Jack Munari,
  • $315,857.90 to Santa Lucia Bank of Atascadero, CA,
  • $17,600 to Rocky Munari,
  • $2,000 to Buck Munari,
  • $6,815 to others.

“In some cases, the bankruptcy judge may determine that those payments or insider distributions may need to be repaid to the debtor’s estate for distribution to creditors,” said a bankruptcy attorney not connected with this case. He said that only the judge could determine whether or not any of the Stevenot funds would need to be returned.


45 Workers Laid Off At Gallo Glass

http://wineindustryinsight.com/?p=721

Forty-five of the 800 workers at the Gallo Glass Factory in Modesto have been laid off, a result of decreased demand and plans to refurbish one of the company’s furnaces.

Gallo Glass supplies bottles to the nearby Gallo Winery and to other winery customers.

In a written statement,Gallo Glass VP John Gallo said, “We regret having to lay off any of our employees but feel we have no choice given the recent circumstances,”  “Our hope is that our construction projects will go smoothly and demand for glass will take take off again in the future.”



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Lewis Perdue
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Email: lewis.perdue@wineindustryinsight.com