Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case for Auto Mogul Gets Weird in Minnesota
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case for Auto Mogul Gets Weird in Minnesota

Denny Hecker used to own a network of auto dealerships that made him a fortune. He had multiple homes and a collection of antiques, hunting trophies and collectibles to match his financial status.

The high-living businessman was known for private jet vacations, Las Vegas gambling and a trail of divorces. His empire included 15 auto dealerships, a leasing company, restaurants and a hunting lodge, according to Automotive News. He ran more than 200 businesses in all.

Last June, however, Hecker filed for Chapter 7 protection, according to a report from the Pioneer Press. He claimed debts of $767 million. It is the job of the trustee in the case, Randall Seaver, to pursue assets that will be sold off to pay back Hecker’s creditors. Hecker, however, is now in a Minnesota bankruptcy court battle to keep some of the prized possessions that fill a home of his on the water in Crosslake, Minnesota.

Among the items that Hecker is working to keep from being liquidated is a life-size statue of music legend Elvis Presley, a trophy American elk head, and several video game machines, according to the story.

Hecker has already made a deal to keep the contents of his home in Medina, Minnesota - though that deal has yet to be approved — and he has now shifted his attention to the Crosslake home, which serves as his vacation getaway. Hecker is working on a deal to keep the furnishings in that second house, as well as the collectibles.

Neighbors refer to the vacation home as “the Compound," in all the property includes three buildings and several boat docks. TCF Bank is currently foreclosing on the property, which is valued at around $11 million.

Seaver is attempting to include the contents of the vacation home in an upcoming bankruptcy auction in late May. Seaver, though, has had difficulty in getting to the items. He and his lawyer have filed a lawsuit claiming that a former employee of Hecker’s has been “exercising control” over the property, and preventing the trustee and auctioneer from accessing it. Also noted in the suit is the claim that the employee, James Gustafson, and his wife have put a dock and boat-lift setup into the water, despite the trustee’s deal to sell the rig.

Hecker’s attorney claimed that the situation would be resolved soon, and that there was someone available who was willing to help Hecker keep the items in his home. The attorney, though, wouldn’t say who it was that was willing to help, or how much many money they would be providing.

In order to save the possessions from his home in Medina, Hecker had sent out an email to his friends and associates asking for help in raising the needed funds. He was able to gather together the $15,000 needed to pay the bankruptcy trustee and keep the items. The attorney will vet the list of names, to make sure that they weren’t creditors to begin with. That home, valued at around $1.8 million, is in foreclosure as well.

To add to his dramatic fall from prominence, according to the Pioneer Press, Hecker faces criminal charges in federal court as well, ranging from criminal bankruptcy fraud to money-laundering charges.

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