Hankins, Once Leading Builder In County, Files For Bankruptcy

August 04, 1991|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

Once one of Harford's leading commercial developers, Steven R. Hankins is trying to put the brakes on his financial slide, filing for protection from his creditors under federal bankruptcy laws.

Hankins and his wife, Susan, owe more than $29 million to 118 creditors, according to documents the Bel Air couple filed on July 18 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore.

The Hankins couple say they have $18,350,623 in secured claims and $10,747,525 in unsecured claims, the documents say.

Secured claims are those which are backed by property or other collateral, while unsecured claims have no such specific collateral.

The couple filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which would allow them to reorganize their finances and repay a portion of their debt over a period of time.

The couple's specific plan for reorganization is to be filed at a later date, according to the documents.

Neither the Hankins nor their bankruptcy case lawyer, Marc Kivitz of Baltimore, could be reached for comment. The telephone at the Hankins Development Corp. office in Bel Air has been disconnected.

The largest creditor listed by the couple in their bankruptcy petition is Signet Bank, owed $8.8 million, the filing says. The couple says its second largest debt is to Nathan and Bruce Scherr -- $7.8 million.

Nathan Scherr is a Baltimore County contractor and developer and who is part owner of the Baltimore Blast soccer team.

The Scherrs guaranteed a $7.8 million loan in October 1988 as part of an a partnership agreement with Hankins to develop an Ocean City hotel, according to documents in Harford Circuit Court. The entire partnership later filed bankruptcy on the project.

The Scherrs received a court injunction in March 1990 ordering Hankins and his attorney, Avrum Kowalsky of Bel Air, to turn over stock in the partnership, documents say.

The remaining creditors listed in the Hankins bankruptcy petition include lawyers, construction suppliers and subcontractors, and utility companies, the documents say.

The Hankins couple said in their petition that they hold more than $1 million in assets. Hankins and his wife live on a 283-acre estate called Christopher's Camp, which is listed as an historic site east of Bel Air.

The filing by the 38-year-old Hankins marks the third time he or one of his companies has sought bankruptcy protection.

The 42nd Street Hotel Inc., a partnership controlled byHankins that developed a 162-room Days Inn in Ocean City, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 1989 to avert a foreclosure auction of the hotel. The partnership faced about $9 million in debts at the time the bankruptcy petition was filed, according to documents.

Another partnership controlled by Hankins, Aberdeen Marketplace Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month to avoid a foreclosure auction of a shopping center it developed near Interstate 95 in Aberdeen.

The developer owes $10.6 million in unpaid principal,interest and fees for a loan issued by Signet Bank for the 100,600-square-foot shopping center, which is nearly completed but not yet open for business.

The debts from the Days Inn and Aberdeen Marketplace projects are not included in the personal bankruptcy petition, filed by Hankins and his wife, documents say.

Hankins averted a foreclosure on three more of his holdings, including his estate, by payingthe $205,000 balance on the mortgage for the properties in October 1990.

The developer also faces criminal charges in Harford Circuit Court. He was indicted in January on two counts of theft and one count each of forging and cashing a counterfeit document.

Police said Hankins forged the signature of an Ocean City subcontractor on a $68,700 mechanic's lien and then cashed it.

If convicted of all charges, Hankins faces up to 50 years in prison and $4,000 in fines. A trial date has not been scheduled.

Hankins also faces at least 45 civil suits in Harford Circuit Court. The suits have come from banks, construction suppliers and subcontractors, his former lawyers and the Maryland Historical Trust and the Maryland Environmental Trust.

TOP 20 HANKINS CREDITORS

Creditor... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. Debt

Signet Bank, Baltimore... ... ... ... ... ... .$8.8 million

*Nathan & Bruce Scherr 6 Caraway Road,... ... .$7.8 Million

Reisterstown

Stancill's Inc. c/o Judith C.H. Cline, Bel Air... .$550,000

Bank of Md., Towson... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... $500,000

MOIF/Old Court S & L, Baltimore... ... ... ... ... $365,000

*Frederic Richmond, Aldelphi... ... ... ... ... .. $360,000

BruceJ. Scherr, Reisterstown... ... ... ... ... . $250,000

H.G. Parks,Inc. c/o Robert F. Dashiell, Baltimore $200,000

*Systems Electric, Ocean City... ... ... ... ... . $164,506

Arrum M. Kowalsky, Bel Air... ... ... ... ... ... .$150,000

Penn. Mortgage Co. c/o Marc Goldberg, Baltimore... $138,000

Charles N. Boarman of John W. Cairnes Realty Co.,. $100,000

Jarrettsville

Kelly C. Smith c/o SmithDevelopment Co.,... ... . $100,000

Forest Hill

*Tacot Electrical, Wilmington, Del... ... ... ... . $79,841

Stancill's Inc... ...... ... ... ... ... ... ... . $75,000

Days Inn America Franchising, Atlanta, Ga... ... .. $67,448

Hartford E. Bealer c/o William J.Davis, D.C... ... $61,000

J. Turner Contractors Inc., Baltimore... ... ... .. $60,000

Harford Sod Co. Inc., Forest Hill... ... ... ... .. $50,000

Michael A. Donalson, Ocean City... ... ... ... ... .$50,000

Total... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .$19.9 Million

*Disputed claims

Source: U.S. Bankruptcy Court records

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