East Coast Brokers & Packers Files for Bankruptcy Protection

East Coast BrokersOn March 6, 2013, East Coast Brokers & Packers, Inc. (“East Coast Brokers”) filed a Ch. 11 bankruptcy in the Middle District of Florida.  Along with East Coast Brokers, Circle M Ranch, Inc., Ruskin Vegetable Corporation, Oakwood Place, Inc. and both Batista J. Madonia, Sr. and Evelyn M. Madonia all filed for bankruptcy protection.  The Debtors are currently seeking the Court’s permission to administer all of the separately filed bankruptcy cases jointly.

Although the Debtors have not (as of the time of this entry) filed their schedules or list of top 20 creditors, court documents show that all of the debtors are “closely intertwined” and that the Madonias own at least 20% of the shares for each of the entities listed above.  The Debtors did acknowledge that they owe “significant debts” and cited MetLife Agricultural Investments as an example of a creditor to whom they owe about $46 Million.  The Debtors’ court documents also acknowledged owing money to Anthony Marano Company, Crop Production, and Triangle Chemical.

For those of you familiar with East Coast Brokers and the Madonias, you may remember that various news sources reported that East Coast “quit tomatoes” back in December of 2012 and that they owed “more than $15 million in judgments and liens to state and federal governments and crop production services.”  At that time, Anthony Marano Company was reported to hold a $5.6 million dollar lien against East Coast Brokers.”  See East Coast Brokers Quit Tomatoes

Counsel for East Coast Brokers should be filing various first day motions and the balance of its schedules in the very near future.  These filings will contain additional information.  Right now, we know that claims are due on May 20, 2013.