Even Met disbursements are controversial

Richard Ziehnert hurried to the trash can and started digging. At last he retrieved an unopened, nondescript envelope from Wells Fargo. Inside was a check for $263.

It wasn’t so much the money Ziehnert wanted. The $263 represented so much more: betrayal, loss, patience and finally payback. The check was his initial disbursement from his lost Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co. investments.

After 2 ½ years of waiting, Metropolitan noteholders are receiving checks worth about 9 cents on the dollar. The mailing to about 10,000 creditors is being handled by Wells Fargo. It’s the first payment since Metropolitan declared bankruptcy in February 2004.

Maggie Lyons, Metropolitan’s trustee, said there has been a handful of problems with the mailing but nothing severe. She hadn’t heard of people accidentally throwing away their checks.

Ziehnert said the envelope had no label identifying it as Metropolitan Mortgage matter. He tossed it in the garbage thinking it was another annoying credit card solicitation.

“We get so many I just throw them away without looking,” he said.

He didn’t know what he had done until speaking with a sibling who alerted him of the contents of the Wells Fargo envelope. Inside was a letter from Metropolitan and his check.

“I heard of one guy who burned his by accident,” Ziehnert said.

Many creditors will receive notice of the disbursement from their brokers in the coming days and weeks.

If creditors are concerned that they may have thrown out their checks, Lyons urged them to call Wells Fargo Trust Services at 1-866-631-0175.

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