LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The stakes rose for Calumet Farm yesterday.
An unidentified group bid $32.5 million for the farm and all its stallion interests, well above the $26.27 million offer that surfaced last week.
But within a few hours of the second offer, Mutual Benefit Life, one of Calumet's main creditors, took the first step toward foreclosing on the farm.
"At these prices there won't be anything left for anybody," Henry Kinser, attorney for Mutual Benefit, said about the offers for the farm.
Mutual Benefit, which is owed more than $24 million, asked the bankruptcy court to lift its protection of Calumet. When Calumet filed for bankruptcy in July the court stopped all lawsuits by the farm's many creditors. Mutual Benefit, which has the first claim on the farm property, said Calumet had had enough time to work out a plan to pay its debt.
Kinser said Mutual Benefit's request would be considered at a bankruptcy court hearing Monday afternoon. If the protection is removed, he said, Mutual Benefit would go to court immediately to foreclose.
Mutual Benefit gave the court an appraisal that valued the farm, without any horses, at $24,586,000. That is well below Calumet's own appraisal, made in 1989, that said the farm was worth $42.5 million.
Mutual Benefit did not appraise the farm's remaining horses. Estimates on Calumet's stallions and stallion interests range from $8 million to $10 million.
Even if Calumet got top dollar for the farm and horses, it would be a long way from paying the $127 million debt that pushed it into bankruptcy. Calumet owes more than $53 million on the property alone.