A business owner in Maine recently took the unusual step of filing individually for Chapter 13 bankruptcy with the intention, according to local news coverage, of forestalling certain business liabilities. This includes a pending eviction brought by Oxford County against the business, Oxford Aviation, Inc. Prior to filing the bankruptcy petition, the business owner, James Horowitz, reportedly transferred all of the company’s assets to himself for a nominal fee. Several matters are now awaiting the court’s attention, including an effort to remand the eviction matter to state court and a declaratory judgment action regarding the company’s right to assign the lease.
According to the Bangor Daily News, Horowitz is the president and sole shareholder of Oxford Aviation, an aircraft maintenance company. The company leases a 40,000-square-foot property at Oxford County Regional Airport, including several hangars and offices. The county reportedly filed a forcible entry and detainer action, more commonly known as an eviction, in state court in late October 2013, alleging that the company breached multiple terms of its lease agreement. The company faces several other legal difficulties, as reported by the Daily News, including a lawsuit for allegedly defaulting on a $62,500 loan and a $423,000 default judgment in a lawsuit claiming negligent aircraft maintenance.
On November 12, 2013, Horowitz reportedly transferred all of the assets of Oxford Aviation, including the leasehold interest, to himself for $1. He filed for personal Chapter 13 bankruptcy the same day. His petition claimed that he has between fifty and ninety-nine creditors and $500,000 to $1 million in debt. In Schedule G, filed several weeks after the petition, he identified Oxford County and Oxford Aviation as parties to the lease agreement for the airport property. The Chapter 13 petition imposed an automatic stay halting the eviction case. The Daily News reported that a hearing had been scheduled in the eviction case on November 13, the day after he filed. Continue reading