Most Viewed Stories
AEA taking steps to take over Kress
AEA has filed papers in court to take over Top of the Kress, according to a posting by Mark Ruiz on his Facebook page.
Ruiz, who had been managing Top of the Kress until Sept. 1 for his father Frank Ruiz, said in his posting that AEA is moving forward to take possession now that the property is out of bankruptcy protection.
Michael King, the attorney representing AEA in the case, confirmed Wednesday that the notice of a trustee sale of the property will be recorded in the near future and the credit union will be looking for a buyer.
The property, the former Kress store at 284 S. Main St., was collateral for an estimated $10 million in loans obtained by Desert Best Enterprises to purchase and renovate the historic downtown building. Frank Ruiz is the principal partner in Desert Best Enterprises.
The building was purchased in 2007 and after extensive renovations and improvements, the nightclub opened in March 2010 on the upper floor and rooftop. The ground floor is rented by DaBoyz Italian Cuisine, which is owned by Christine Dawson.
Within four months of opening Top of the Kress, Desert Best Enterprise filed for Chapter 11 reorganization on July 1, 2010.
A release at the time by Mark Ruiz stated that the decision was due to the financial troubles of AEA and “its decision to cut off many of their clients' lines of credit.”
AEA was placed in conservatorship in December 2010 by the National Credit Union Administration because of its large number of bad business debts, including millions of dollars in loans to Frank Ruiz for his various businesses that also included Yuma Fun Factory and Desert Best Distributing.
Frank Ruiz currently is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in June in U.S. District Court in Phoenix to charges of transactional money laundering and conspiracy for his role in the misuse of credit union funds that contributed to its insolvency.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Marler issued an order on Nov. 23 dismissing Desert Best Enterprise's bankruptcy, noting in his order that no plan had been confirmed in the 1-1/2 years of the Chapter 11 petition. “Nor is a viable plan before the court. ... Confirmation of a plan is clearly not achievable.”
The judge continued: “The futility of continuing with a failed Chapter 11 should now be obvious to all. Or, if not to all, it is to the court. At the very least, any creditor with a plausible plan for turning this case into a silk purse would have suggested something by now, rather than just allowing the debtor to continue its current death rattle. Nothing is coming out of this case but more pain. It is time to mercifully end it.”
Randal Dawson, speaking on behalf of his wife, said DaBoyz would continue to conduct business as usual. “We're happy to be downtown and business is doing well ... it's up from last year.”
As such, he said the restaurant is an asset to the AEA and to whoever buys the property in the future.
He said the only difference seen by the restaurant is that about three months ago AEA requested that the rent checks be made and delivered directly to the credit union.
In the past the rent checks had gone to Desert Best Enterprises. However, Dawson said, they had heard that the restaurant's payments weren't being given to AEA.
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6853. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/jlobeck or on Twitter at @YSJoyceLobeck.