Tiber contractor gains an edge in condo bankruptcy case

Tiber

Only some progress has been made on the Tiber since this December 2015 photo.

The original contractor of a long-delayed West End condo development may soon gain control of the project he claims he was fired from last year.

The trustee overseeing the bankruptcy case of The Tiber, a 15-unit condo building sitting in limbo at the corner of Libbie and Guthrie avenues, said last week he intends to recommend approval of a plan that will allow a company tied to contractor John K. George to purchase the property.

The plan, proposed by George’s Libbie Guthrie Company LLC, would also call for the company to return 100 percent of the deposit money to any of the prospective condo buyers who want to walk away from the project. Condo purchasers who want to close on their units would be able to apply the previous deposit money toward new purchase contracts.

Attorney Courtney Moates Paulk of Hirschler Fleischer who represents Libbie Guthrie said in an email her client plans to see the Tiber to fruition.

“Libbie Guthrie has worked and will continue to work extensively with the trustee on a plan that will provide the best possible outcome to all parties-in-interest,” Paulk said. “Through the planned acquisition, Libbie Guthrie intends to promptly and professionally complete the project.”

The trustee’s intentions, according to two creditors who asked not to be named, were made during a conference call last week related to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of Tiber Partners LLC, the company that owns and has been developing the property since 2013.

On that call were condo buyers who are now creditors in the case and are waiting to see how the bankruptcy process might affect the eventual completion of their future homes.

The two unnamed creditors are both prospective Tiber condo owners who years ago put down deposits to reserve their spot in the high-end project.

It has since sat unfinished in the wake of a dispute between the partners of the development. George was part of the original development group and was also hired to build the property but alleged in a lawsuit last year that he was fired from the project by his partners.

Looking to regain some leverage, George, along with investor David Posner of Chester-based Royal Productions, then formed Libbie Guthrie to purchase the loan on the Tiber and pushed for foreclosure.

In April, frustrated condo buyers forced Tiber Partners into bankruptcy to have a trustee sort things out.

The other plan being considered by the trustee was backed by a group of about six of the Tiber’s 13 condo purchasers. It sought to complete the construction under the auspices of the bankruptcy trustee. It would have given original purchasers 80 percent of their deposits back, establish new purchase contracts and use a different builder to complete the project. The two unnamed creditors said the buyers’ proposal could be amended to return 100 percent of the deposits.

The trustee in the case is attorney Peter Barret of Kutak Rock.

Loc Pfeiffer of Kutak Rock, who represents Barret, confirmed the conference call took place last week and that a plan from Libbie Guthrie was discussed.

“We did talk about two sets of approaches and one of them was a proposal from Libbie Guthrie,” Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer said within five to seven days a recommendation for the bankruptcy would be filed with the judge.

Tiber Partners was formed in 2012 by Scott Boyers, Jennifer Fergusson, Berkeley Fergusson and John George to build and sell a 15-unit high-end condo development. It broke ground in 2013.

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