In a story of bankruptcy success, Denny Simmons of the Evansville, Indiana Courier & Press reports on Scott Anderson, who made the most of his bankruptcy.
Before his bankruptcy, Anderson was a prominent owner and restorer of prime historical properties in Evansville’s downtown district. And, after bankruptcy, he’s right back at it.
"A bankruptcy situation only lasts for a certain amount of time," Anderson told Simmons, "and then you have a fresh start for pulling yourself up and figuring out where you go from there. That’s what I did."
Anderson and his wife Rene are currently hard at work renovating a former tuberculosis hospital's administration building into five apartments.
The rentals, which will include gourmet kitchens, geothermal heat and air conditioning and other luxuries, have sprung out of the 73-year-old building that Anderson purchased for what he terms, "not much."
Still, how did Anderson re-establish his credit after filing bankruptcy?
"In the case of [the current] project," he told the reporter, "I basically had to provide more of my own equity than I might have had to in the past. The project was judged on its own merit."
Anderson said that his experience outlines that while banks are more cautious in their lending practices these days, they will still support solid plans for new projects.
"The lending industry is having to do more due diligence than before," he continued. Anderson also advises people who have recently come out of bankruptcy to prepare to put up a good chunk of their own money to get started.
Anderson has a reputation for buying, leasing and revitalizing properties in Downtown Evansville, efforts that have not gone unnoticed by local leaders.
"Some argue that the heart of a city is its downtown," Jeff Lake, a former Rotary Club president, told Simmons. "Scott Anderson has served as Evansville’s heart surgeon."
In April, 2003, Anderson filed bankruptcy in U.S. District Court, a move that came as a surprise to local business leaders.
Anderson says that overly optimistic projections on the returns of some of his properties hurt all of his interests.
He was forced to sell his best properties to shore up the weakest.
He was filing bankruptcy, he said, "to tie all the knots and not be exposed to claims five or ten years down the road."
Anderson feels that the way he went through bankruptcy was very "honorable" and that he worked very closely with several of his primary creditors. "I wanted to make sure the buildings were disposed of in a way that would present the least amount of problems for the bank and myself and others."
During the bankruptcy, Anderson says he and his wife worked very hard, falling back on other careers (he is also an instructor at the University of Southern Indiana), all the while planning to once again re-enter the field he loved: building renovation.
After selling off his original portfolio, Anderson was still in debt, and at that point he decided to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Five years later, all the knots have been tied, and he is back at work on his latest project and already looking for new ones.
Source: Evansville Courier & Press