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The Vanguard

Jefferson Davis is a longtime resident of Menomonee Falls. He is the proud parent of two wonderful boys. He enjoys singing, volunteering, reading, gardening, politics, antiques, history, guitar, violin, piano, officiating, helping neighbors and yard work. He served as Village President of Menomonee Falls from 2003-05. He is a member of Northbrook Church and serves on the Advisory Council for the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. He is an independent registered representative practicing in the areas of insurance, investments and retirement.

Falls Radisson Hotel Partner Files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy With $103,576,625 in Liabilities

Falls Radisson Hotel Partner Bankruptcy Chapter 7

In an astonishing, breathtaking and yet predictable move, one of the Menomonee Falls Radisson Hotel partners has filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in the U.S. Western District Court of Wisconsin in Madison.

A tipster informed The Vanguard because they have joined a long list of victims who performed work on the hotel and have now been stiffed for tens of thousands of dollars.

The federal bankruptcy case is 10-17595 and can be viewed at www.wiwb.uscourts.gov.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is known as the "death sentence" of bankruptcies while 11, 12 and 13 give individuals, businesses and corporations time to reorganize.

Just when everyone thought things couldn't get worse for the Radisson Hotel, it has.

David G. Gilbert, Cottage Grove, has listed liabilities of $103,576,625 (that's "m" as in million) on his federal bankruptcy court filing of late last year within about 150 days of receiving a Menomonee Falls taxpayer loan of $18,000,000 from the Village Board with a unanimous vote recommended by the Village Manager and Village Attorney.

Gilbert is one of the original 5 partners that somehow convinced the Village Manager and Village Attorney to recommend to the Village Board to unanimously approve a taxpayer funded loan of $18,000,000 at 4.25% for 4 years interest free.

The $750,000 annual interest payments appear to be picked up by the taxpayers of Menomonee Falls.

All 5 partners had to submit their financials, spousal consent forms, joint marital property agreements and collateral set-offs to the Village in order to be considered for the $18,000,000 taxpayer funded interest free loan.

Gilbert showed the Village Manager, Village Attorney, their agents and the Village Board that he had a net worth of $4.5 million in early 2010 on his financial statement.

About 150 days after he received the $18,000,000 taxpayer loan from the Village Board, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in federal court.

Once the loan was approved by the Village Board, taxpayers paid off nearly $3,000,000 in mortgages for the empty hotel that was assessed at $1,500,000 at the time and facing foreclosure and or bankruptcy.

The Falls Radisson Hotel is currently in default for its first 2 payments in 2011 of $700,000 toward the $18,000,000 loan and is also in court appointed receivership status for all revenues and expenditures.

Gilbert is 50% owner of Gil-Her Contractors, along with Paul Nooyen of Sun Prairie, another one of the original 5 partners that just happened to get the general contract for the renovation of the hotel in Menomonee Falls shortly after the $18,000,000 taxpayer funded loan was approved and distributed.

It is unclear how long Radisson Corporate will allow their name to be associated with the Menomonee Falls site due to the clauses of the franchise agreement that allow Radisson to withdraw their name when legal issues arise for the owner.

The Vanguard has been informed of the very low occupancy rate (20%), minimal patrons for the restaurant and the rush to cancel wedding receptions along with other events because of the press notoriety and uncertainty of how long the facility will continue to remain open.

The hotel partners are scheduled to make 2 payments each year through 2014 in amounts of $400,000, $450,000 and $500,000 respectively for a total of $4,100,000 when the entire $18,000,000 loan will be due with a balloon payment according to the Village Debt Service Schedule of 2011.

Those annual payments and the 2014 balloon payment appear to be in serious jeopardy.

It is widely known that Village Board Members tried to extort the hotel owners for cash and real estate deals in exchange for Village Board taxpayer funding to renovate the hotel that indirectly led to the resignation of the Municipal Judge in Menomonee Falls for taking money under the table to lobby the Village Board.

It is also well documented in the Journal Sentinel and The Vanguard of the many lawsuits throughout the State of Wisconsin totaling millions of dollars for foreclosures, evictions, judgments, construction liens and embezzlement involving the 5 hotel partners including the ones in Waukesha County where Gilbert is suing his partners for nearly $3,000,000 in unpaid bills.

More contractors are stepping forward on a weekly basis filing construction liens as made known to The Vanguard from tipsters.

$103,576,625 Liabilities Examined

Gilbert has listed a total of $103,576,625 in liabilities according to his federal bankruptcy court filing.

The Village Board gave Gilbert and his 4 partners $18,000,000 in late May/early June of 2010 based on their financials and within about 150 days, Gilbert filed bankruptcy in federal court.

Court documents show that Gilbert put his interest of the 14 hotels that he owns throughout the State of Wisconsin in a Nevada Irrevocable Trust to protect himself from any future lawsuits or bankruptcy just days before he received the taxpayer funded $18,000,000 loan.

Either Gilbert racked up a lot of debt in a very short period of time or the Village Manager, Village Attorney, their agents and the Village Board didn't due their job or Gilbert lied about his financials and the Village knowingly looked the other way or a combination of all the above.

Everyone makes a mistake and can miss some things.

Everyone wanted Main Street to be revitalized after decades of neglect by the Village Manger and the Village Board.

But how did $103,576,625 get by the Village Manager, Village Attorney, their agents and the Village Board?

Gilbert has listed his personal property in the amount of $491,629 on his bankruptcy forms.

He has listed a number of exempt items that include his 401(k), a ring, deer, moose and bear mounts, some guns, income tax returns, some phones, cameras, golf clubs, washer and dryer, treadmill, beds, clothes, dishes, books, lawn chairs, grill, hunting equipment, tools and some furniture.

Some of the liabilities and their creditors are as follows for Gilbert...

  • Bank of Sun Prairie - $2,577,535
  • Dane County Treasurer - $57,275
  • First Bank of Madison - $304,000
  • First Bank of Madison - $5,085,219
  • Gil-Her Sun Prairie - $120,742
  • M&I Bank Sun Prairie - $323,458
  • American Budget Inns of Hurley, Black River Falls and Spooner (unknown)
  • Anchor Bank Madison - $14,644,044
  • Bank of Sun Prairie - $2,025,873
  • Bank of Sun Prairie - $2,970,351
  • Bank of Sun Prairie - $1,964,085
  • Carlson Corporation - $275,075
  • Country Inns of Kenosha, Green Bay, St. Cloud, Milwaukee and Monona for millions
  • First Bank Madison - $8,725,209
  • First Bank Madison and Whitewater - $9,892,724
  • Mike Morse Village of Menomonee Falls - $17,650,000
  • Lodging Investors (Grosskopf, Heyden, Nooyen, etc)
  • Park Bank Madison - $20,082,857
  • Community Bank Rice Lake - $677,682
  • Wells Fargo - $3,308,932
  • Wells Fargo - $13,096,392

Some of these liabilities have collateral.

How in the world did one person get so much money with a monthly income of about $4,700 that includes a social security payment of $2,200?

This just defies all sense of sensibility.

And the Village Board gave this guy an additional $18,000,000 interest free and now he has stiffed the taxpayers with a Chapter 7 filing.

Gilbert's bankruptcy filing also discloses some 9 foreclosures and or collection judgments from the last several years.

He also found $2,500 to donate to the UW-Madison Athletic Department in June of 2009.

He has paid a bankruptcy attorney some $5,000 so far.

He also shows 14 Nevada Irrevocable Trusts for his interest in various hotels throughout Wisconsin that were transferred to the trusts on March 15, 2010 at the same time he was asking the Village taxpayers for $18,000,000 and just a few weeks before he received the $18,000,000 taxpayer loan for the Radisson Hotel renovation that he was going to be a contractor for.

The irrevocable trusts are available to residents and non-residents of those states that provide this type of protection.

Nevada Irrevocable Trusts have become a very popular estate planning and asset protection tool in case of lawsuits and bankruptcies (http://www.assetprotectioncorp.com/litigationandassetprotection.html).

Gilbert lists his Menomonee Falls Radisson Hotel interest in his Nevada Irrevocable Trust for protection against creditors.

He also disclosed his interest in other businesses that include the Cannery Building in Madison, Sauk Boys, LLC and Gil-Her Contractors of Sun Prairie.

Gil-Her renovated the Radisson Hotel.

He lists as the keeper of his records as Suby Von Hayden of Madison.

Suby Von Hayden must be one heck of a record keeper to have kept all of these records straight for this long period of time.

Creditors File Claims of $53,850,989 So Far

Gilbert's bankruptcy filing has attracted 17 claims so far in federal bankruptcy court.

With the case still pending, it is probable that more creditors will file a claim.

The following are a few of those who have filed a claim against the Falls Radisson Hotel partner...

  • First Citizens Bank - Whitewater - $3,505,873
  • Stock Building Supply - Brookfield - $86,662
  • Dane County Treasurer - $58,789
  • Gilbert's Hotel Partner Jim Heyden - Menomonee Falls - $17,650,000
  • Attorney John Center - Madison - $5,195,745
  • Anchor Bank - Madison - $3,608,116
  • Anchor Bank - Madison - $7,163,091
  • Anchor Bank - Madison - $17,176,698
  • First Business Bank - Madison - $7,705,105
  • First Bank Financial Center - Sun Prairie - $3,980,496
  • Millwork Specialists - Madison - $1,151,942
  • Country Inn & Suites - Minneapolis - $440,080
  • Greg Raupp - Madison - $755,199
  • US Bank - Cincinnati - $26,000

Some of these claims are secured.

How Does This Affect the Menomonee Falls Radisson?

This can only be described as a bombshell for the Village Manager, Village Attorney, their agents, the Village Board and most importantly, the Menomonee Falls taxpayers as the taxpayers will be the ones that will be asked to bail out the hotel owners.

It is time to get out in front of this fast developing situation before it is too late.

Please contact your Village Officials and Village Board immediately and let them know what you think they should do to protect the taxpayers of Menomonee Falls.

Here is their contact information...

Village Board

1. Randy Newman, N74 W153000 Stoneridge Drive, 262-255-0183, trusteenewman@menomonee-falls.org

2. Dennis Farrell, N94 W15987 Cherokee Drive, 262-251-1281, trusteefarrell@menomonee-falls.org

3. Jim Jeskewitz, N80 W15239 Hilltop Drive, 262-251-9595, sjjeskewitz@milwpc.com

4. Jeff Steliga, W209 N9106 Scenic Drive, 262-255-1114, trusteesteliga@menomoee-falls.org

5. Mike McDonald, W162 N7406 Tamarack Trail, 262-255-2365, mmac1883@aol.com

6. Steve Raymonds, N76 W13657 Upper Circle, 262-255-5853, trusteeraymonds@menomonee-falls.org

7. Sharon Ellis, N79 W15360 Goldenrod Drive, 262-255-6478, sellis01@msn.com

Village Manager

Mark Fitzgerald, W156 N8480 Pilgrim Road, 262-532-4241, mfitzgerald@menomonee-falls.org

Village Attorney

Mike Morse, W156 N8480 Pilgrim Road, 262-532-4251, mmorse@menomonee-falls.org

Village Financial Director

Mary Datka, W156 N8480 Pilgrim Road, 262-532-4230, mdatka@menomonee-falls.org

What do you think?

Please feel free to leave a comment that pertains to the latest development of the Menomonee Falls Radisson Hotel mess.

For the defenders of the status quo and for those that want to protect your friends on the Village Board with your personal attacks toward those who tell the truth, it's time to get past that and come together to figure out what can be done with this situation that will benefit the taxpayers who had their necks stuck out by the Village Board before we all have to eat the hotel.

Should the federal, state and county authorities be contacted to see what they can do to protect us before even more of the hotel partners possibly file bankruptcy?

The police chief will probably turn a blind eye and deaf ear to all of this corruption just like she has for everything else involving many of the same players that she passes off as "standard operating procedure" for Menomonee Falls. 

Do you want to get your $18,000,000 back with interest or should the Village Manager, Village Attorney and Village Board just write it off?

Should the Village take immediate steps to take over the hotel and remove the remaining partners before they possibly file for bankruptcy?

Should the taxpayers bail out the Village Manager, Village Attorney and Village Board by giving the hotel even more millions of dollars?

Should the Village be looking for a new owner before matters get even worse?

How long should the hotel be given to turn things around before other steps are taken?

Should the Village file a claim against Gilbert in bankruptcy court?

Is it time for Village Board Members to step down from office?

Should Mark Fitzgerald and Mike Morse have a public meeting to explain how this happened and what is their idea to get us out of this situation?

Should the public be able to review the credit report on these 5 partners that was hopefully pulled by the Village when they were given the $18,000,000?

What due deligence was completed by the Village Board to provide the taxpayers the assurance that the $18,000,000 was going to be paid back with interest?

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