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In brief: Bankruptcy cancels Five Mile lot auction

A planned auction of 33 lots in the Five Mile area of north Spokane was canceled Friday when the developer, MT 5 LLC, filed for bankruptcy protection.

MT 5’s manager was Thomas Masters, a former vice president at Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Co. He helped raise about $2 million to develop 42 lots in the Rocky Ridge subdivision, between Indian Trails and the Five Mile area.

By the end of 2008, however, MT 5 had sold only a handful of lots. A group of creditors filed foreclosure liens against the subdivision in mid-2009, and MT 5 filed for receivership soon after.

In October, one major creditor, D&J Rocky Ridge LLC, gained court approval to hold the auction to raise an estimated $1.5 million owed to it, said attorney Frank Gebhard.

The bankruptcy filing listed MT 5’s assets as less than $50,000.

Masters earlier this year filed a personal bankruptcy petition, listing debts of more than $26 million. He no longer lives in Spokane.

Tom Sowa

Dry Fly’s new batch of whiskey sells quickly

The second batch of Spokane’s Dry Fly Distilling’s Washington Wheat Whiskey went on sale Friday. All 300 bottles at the company’s office near downtown sold in three hours, said co-owner Don Poffenroth.

The company released its initial batch this past summer. The next batch will be in late February. “It will then be released every month from then on,” Poffenroth said.

Bottles sell for $42 each. Another 300 bottles were distributed, on a lottery basis, to state liquor stores. The lottery system will deliver the whiskey more widely, instead of just large cities, Poffenroth noted.

Another 360 bottles of whiskey are being sold through a nationwide online retailer.

Tom Sowa

Six more banks closed; total for year at 130

Washington – Regulators on Friday shut down Ohio’s AmTrust Bank, the fourth-largest bank to fail this year. They also closed five others, bringing to 130 the number of U.S. banks to be brought down so far in 2009 by recession and mountains of bad debt.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over AmTrust Bank, based in Cleveland, with about $12 billion in assets and $8 billion in deposits. Its failure is expected to cost the federal deposit insurance fund an estimated $2 billion.

In addition to its branches in Ohio, AmTrust – formerly Ohio Savings – had branches in Florida and the Phoenix area.

Also seized by the FDIC were three Georgia banks: Buckhead Community Bank, based in Atlanta; First Security National Bank, based in Norcross; and Tattnall Bank, of Reidsville.

Benchmark Bank, based in Aurora, Ill., and Greater Atlantic Bank, of Reston, Va., also were closed.

The 130 bank failures are the most in a year since 1992, at the height of the savings-and-loan crisis.