The Gilbert Auto Honda dealership in College Place. The dealership, which opened in the summer of 2011, has since the start of this year been at the center of an ongoing series of legal disputes.
Photo by Andy Porter.
WALLA WALLA — A federal court has dismissed three Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings filed by a local auto dealer seeking protection from creditors.
The actions in U.S. Bankruptcy Court were the result of four Chapter 11 filings in March by Mark W. Gilbert and his associated companies. The court’s actions involved Gilbert’s dealerships in Pendleton, Walla Walla and Moscow, Idaho. A Chapter 11 filing for a Gilbert dealership in Moses Lake, Wash., remains active.
Under Chapter 11, a business may be protected from creditors while it devises a plan for reorganization. Gilbert and his companies are currently being sued by numerous creditors, the city of College Place and the state Attorney General’s Office.
The Chapter 11 filing for the Gilbert Chevrolet dealership in Pendleton was dismissed on May 28 and the Chapter 11 filing for the Walla Walla dealership was dismissed June 13. The final order to dismiss the Chapter 11 filing for the Moscow, Idaho, dealership was filed Tuesday.
The motions to dismiss were submitted by Acting United States Trustee Gail Geiger and signed by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank L. Kurtz.
Among the reasons cited by Geiger for dismissal were Gilbert not filing schedules and statements of financial affairs required by the court and that “the debtor has nothing to reorganize and the ongoing costs and interests diminish the estate on a daily basis.”
Gilbert, however, said in an email he had requested the dismissals and was planning to reopen his dealerships soon.
“We have worked in cooperation with the U.S. Trustee and requested they consider a dismissal of our pending Chapter 11 reorganization filing for Gilbert Auto Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, Gilbert Auto Chevrolet in Pendleton and Gilbert Auto Ford in Moscow, Idaho. Based on our belief that we had a viable go forward plan for the businesses continued operation, the trustee agreed and requested the dismissal of the Chapter 11’s which we are pleased the Court granted.
“We now can move forward with pending transactions that will allow the (Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram), Chevrolet and Ford dealerships to resume full operations very soon, this summer. We appreciate the encouragement and patience on the part of our customers and friends who have supported our businesses through this transition. Stay tuned for more updates on these dealerships and their new direction that is under way.”
When asked if Gilbert had requested dismissal of the Chapter 11 filings, Assistant United States Trustee Gary Dyer said Wednesday “I’m not aware of any of that.”
Dyer said motions to dismiss are set for a hearing, notices are sent out to all parties and if there are no objections, the hearing is held and the motion is granted.
“If it’s not in the record, it’s not in the record,” he said about Gilbert’s request to dismiss.