Friday, March 12, 2010

Denny Hecker

If you live in the Twin Cities, you surely know who Denny Hecker is. He owned about 20 car dealerships plus a mortgage company and many other businesses, and his face was on half of the buses in town. But apparently no amount of legitimate money was enough for him and he turned to fraud, and his empire eventually collapsed. He filed for personal bankruptcy last year, listing assets of approximately $18 million and liabilities of approximately $767 million because of all of the personal guaranties that he had signed for his various businesses. Then he was indicted. Then his attorneys all asked to withdraw from his divorce case, his bankruptcy case, and his criminal case because he had stopped paying them.

Today, Denny agreed to give up in his bankruptcy case and to accept a denial of a discharge from his $767 million in liabilities in exchange for one thing; he gets his $30,000 dog back.

As of this reminds me of a story that a lawyer at my law firm told me many years ago. As a young lawyer, he obtained a judgment against some deadbeat and sent the sheriff out to gather any personal property that he could find to satisfy the judgment. The sheriff called the lawyer and told him that there was nothing but a dog. The lawyer instructed the sheriff to take the dog. Within 3 hours, the lawyer had a cashier's check for the entire amount of the judgment, and the deadbeat got his dog back. I don't know if there is any moral to that story, but I have never forgotten it.

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