Downtown barge owner files for bankruptcy - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Downtown barge owner files for bankruptcy

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The fallout continues surrounding the man who owns a floating barge downtown.

Developer, Allen Casey, filed for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy Wednesday, just two days after filing his business for bankruptcy.

River City Resort, Casey's company, owns the barge along the Tennessee River. It's been called an eyesore for years.

"Our clients loaned Mr. Casey's company and Mr. Casey a substantial sum of money, and he kept promising to repay them and never did," said Chattanooga attorney, Gary Patrick.

Patrick represents several creditors who invested in River City Resorts, and said Casey owes his clients $1.5 million out of the $7 million in deals made in the riverfront property.

Casey's plans to turn the vacant barge into a New Orleans-style floating bar and restaurant and develop a hotel and condos surrounding it never happened.

The day before the case was set to to go trial in Chancery Court, Casey filed his business for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, postponing the lawsuit again.

"The trial has been postponed at least two other times, [the clients] were disappointed they were not able to go forward," Patrick said Wednesday.

Casey's attorney, David Fulton, said the bankruptcy filing was not used to delay the trial.

"It's not a delay, it's to accomplish bringing all the creditors of the company before one court in this one case," Fulton said.

Fulton represents both Casey and River City Resorts. He said the Chapter 11 filing was a protective measure for fairness.

"Mr. Casey authorized the Chapter 11 filing to stop the race to the courthouse, providing equal treatment for all the company's creditors," he said.

Fulton would not comment on Casey's personal bankruptcy filing, but said his client is "doing fine."

"No one wants to or is happy to file bankruptcy, but in this situation, that was really the only way to get all the issues of the company before one court," Fulton said.

Perhaps the biggest issue for the community is the floating eyesore, the delapidated barge, which isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

The future of the barge is still unclear. The Army Corps of Engineers said it has not yet made a decision on how to go forward.

The lawsuit's next hearing is scheduled for March 18.

"That's money he has borrowed and net that he has used in some manner, either spent on something or is unaccounted for," said Patrick.

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