Bankrupt businessman Ezri Namvar personally owes at least $321 million to creditors, making his bankruptcy one of the largest in Los Angeles County in recent decades.
That amount, combined with $545 million already known to be owed by his bankrupt real estate investment company, Namco Capital Group Inc., swells the total amount of money owed in Namvar’s financial collapse to at least $866 million.
The information on what Namvar owes comes from a list of the businessman’s personal debts that was prepared by his bankruptcy counsel but has not been filed in court. The list can be found on the Namvar bankruptcy trustee’s Web site.
Bankruptcy experts and local attorneys said they know of no larger personal bankruptcy in Los Angeles County in recent decades, although no one knew of any records that would verify that. However, local corporate bankruptcies, such as Fremont General Corp. and IndyMac Bancorp Inc., were far larger.
“This is as big a local real estate bankruptcy case as I recall,” said J. Scott Bovitz, a bankruptcy law expert with three decades of experience who is also representing a Namco creditor. “I think at the end of the day we are going to discover the amounts are higher – I think it could be a billion-dollar case.”
Namvar is the subject of a federal investigation and has been accused by several creditors of running a Ponzi scheme after his real estate business collapsed.
Namvar raised money in an unusual way. He personally collected it from hundreds of members of his own West L.A. Persian Jewish community, some of whom are now said to be destitute after handing him their life savings. He invested most of it in commercial real estate, including such local trophy assets as the Los Angeles Marriott Downtown hotel; the Wilshire Bundy Plaza office building in West Los Angeles; and the Park Fifth development site downtown, where he and his partners planned to build the tallest condo tower west of Chicago.
His empire, valued at $2.4 billion in mid-2008, collapsed in the real estate downturn in the second half of last year. He and his company were forced into bankruptcy by a group of creditors in December.
Namvar’s list of personal liabilities has not been filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court, despite an order that it be submitted by March 15 along with the Namco bankruptcy schedules, which were filed. The list has not been signed by Namvar, but it is posted on Namvar-Namco-Bankruptcy.com, a Web site created by the two court-appointed bankruptcy trustees.
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