Paul and David Olsen, the founders of the Olsen's Mill as well as two ethanol plants, have filed for personal bankruptcy after the crash of the ethanol industry left them in more than $104 million in debt to multiple banks, lawyers, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and their mother, according to the Oshkosh Northwestern.
The brothers had previously run one of the state's largest agricultural empires, controlling a crop service that provides fertilizer and seeds to farmers, and five farms and grain mills that purchased crops from farmers across central and eastern Wisconsin. The newspaper said the family business began to struggle between 2008 and 2009, when ethanol prices dropped and corn prices rose sharply.
According to the news source, the brothers filed separate Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions in December 2010. However, since then the cases have been combined.
The pair owe money to a variety of creditors, including $50.7 million to BNP Paribas, $27.5 million to West Pointe Bank, $2.5 million to the Wisconsin DOT and $200,000 to their mother, Vivadell Olsen, reported the source.
In 2009, a judge approved the sale of Olsen's Mill to a group led by Phillip Martini, the president of Oshkosh-based contracting firm C.R. Meyer and Sons Co., reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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