SE Property Holdings, LLC v. Seaside Engineering & Surveying, Inc., No. 14-11590 (11th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
SE Property Holdings, LLC, and affiliated entity Vision-Park Properties, LLC, (collectively “Vision”) appealed a district court’s order upholding decisions in the bankruptcy restructuring proceedings of Seaside Engineering and Surveying, LLC. Seaside was a civil engineering and surveying firm whose principal shareholders prior to all bankruptcy litigation were John Gustin, James Mainor, Ross Binkley, James Barton, and Timothy Spears. The principals branched out from their work as engineers and entered the real estate development business, forming Inlet Heights, LLC, and Costa Carina, LLC. These wholly separate entities borrowed money from Vision with personal guaranties from the principals. Inlet Heights and Costa Carina defaulted on the loans, and Vision filed suit to recover amounts under the guaranties. Gustin filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection for himself. Mainor and Binkley followed suit. All were appointed Chapter 7 trustees. Gustin, Mainor, and Binkley listed their Seaside stock as non-exempt personal property in their required filings. The Chapter 7 trustee in the Gustin case conducted an action to sell Gustin’s shares of Seaside stock. Gustin bid $95,500.00, and Vision defeated the bid with a purchase price of $100,000.00. Seaside attempted to block sale of Gustin’s stock to Vision, but the bankruptcy court confirmed the sale. Following the sale of Gustin’s stock, Seaside filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Seaside proposed to reorganize and continue operations as the entity Gulf Atlantic, LLC (“Gulf”), an entity managed by Gustin, Mainor, Binkley, and Bowden, and owned by four members, the respective irrevocable family trust of each manager. The outside equity holders would receive promissory notes with interest accruing at a rate of 4.25% in exchange for their interest in Seaside and thus be excluded from ownership in Gulf. The bankruptcy court approved the Second Amended Plan of Reorganization over Vision's objection. The district court affirmed the bankruptcy court. After careful review of the record, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed.