Bellevue real estate firm ran a Ponzi scheme, say bankruptcy filings

A Bellevue-based real estate investment firm that allegedly failed to repay hundreds of investors operated a Ponzi scheme, the third-party company now overseeing the firm contends in recent bankruptcy filings. 

Founded in 2011, investment firm iCap raised money promising to invest in Seattle-area real estate projects. But after the firm allegedly extended timelines for repaying investors and stopped paying monthly interest payments, some investors sued iCap last year in King County Superior Court. ICap filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September and the restructuring company Paladin took over.

In bankruptcy court filings late last week, Paladin and attorneys representing iCap investors together asked the court to agree that iCap ran a Ponzi scheme. 

The conclusion “is based on overwhelming evidence,” Chief Restructuring Officer Lance Miller said in a statement to The Seattle Times. “Court recognition of this conclusion will materially expedite and support our ongoing efforts toward a favorable outcome.”

Chris Christensen, who founded the company and stepped down as CEO in September, disputed the description of his business as a Ponzi scheme.

“Mr. Christensen strongly disputes the allegation that iCap operated as a Ponzi scheme,” Christensen’s attorneys said in a statement to The Seattle Times. “Mr. Christensen will

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As threats against judges soar, some speak out

As threats against judges soar, some speak out

A Greenville, South Carolina, man pleaded guilty on Friday for sending a threatening letter to a federal judge that read, in part, “I have watched you leave the courthouse numerous times and plotted to get my revenge.”

Authorities say the handwritten letter goes on to say, “you best to make sure they lock me away for good cause I’m going to kill you or blow that courthouse up.”

That man, Alvin Parks, was already being held at the Greenville County Detention Center on other charges.

Judge Laura Beyer, who sits on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charlotte, North Carolina, told ABC News that the case, while not involving a bankruptcy judge, is a reminder that “these threats are real.”

“I think we all feel pretty protected at the courthouses when we are here, but it’s the unknown threat, when we are away from the federal courthouse,” she said.

The incident, just one of the skyrocketing number of threats to federal judges, underscores just how dangerous the judicial profession has gotten.

The cases before federal bankruptcy court judges, in particular, deal with very personal issues, from divorce proceedings to someone’s business and that could raise someone’s temperature, according to two

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Street Cop Training files for bankruptcy as NJ cops face retraining

Street Cop Training files for bankruptcy as NJ cops face retraining

About 240 New Jersey police officers will have to be retrained next month, more than two years after they attended a 2021 Atlantic City conference that state officials said maligned women and minorities, glorified violence and likely violated state laws.

A Feb. 18 memo from Attorney General Matthew Platkin directed all current law enforcement officers who in any way participated in the October 2021 sessions by Street Cop Training to attend retraining on March 14 in Trenton.

Street Cop Training, an in-person and online police training company that recently filed for bankruptcy, has been listed as a prohibited training agency in nine states, including New Jersey, Illinois and California.

Street Cop Training files for bankruptcy as NJ cops face retraining

Founded in 2012 by former police officer Dennis Benigno, Street Cop Training was the subject of a State Comptroller’s Office investigation after the 2021 conference.

Released in December 2023, the report detailed numerous instances of unconstitutional policing tactics, discriminatory behavior, glorification of violence and denigration of women and minorities during the training event.

“We found so many examples of so many instructors promoting views and tactics that were wildly inappropriate, offensive, discriminatory, harassing, and, in some cases, likely illegal,” acting Comptroller Kevin Walsh said in a December 2023 statement.

Instructors advocated

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When Should a Small Business Owner File for Bankruptcy?

When Should a Small Business Owner File for Bankruptcy?

For small business owners, the decision to file for bankruptcy is often scary, stressful, and intimidating. It’s a critical choice that can have far-reaching implications for both the business and the personal lives of the owners and any employees who work for the business. Sometimes, it’s 100 percent the right choice. But it all depends on how you approach it. 

Understanding the Truth of Bankruptcy

First off, let’s tackle the stigma. Bankruptcy often comes with a shadow of failure, but in reality, it’s a legal tool designed to provide a fresh start. It’s about making a strategic choice to protect what can be saved and to rebuild on a more solid foundation.

As bankruptcy attorney Rowdy G. Williams explains, “We need to get over the notion that bankruptcy is embarrassing or a black mark on who you are as a person. Bankruptcy is a legal and ethical tool that exists to help people escape bad financial situations. See it as a tool – not a mistake.”

When you see bankruptcy as a tool – much like debt can be a tool – it starts to open you

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Mediation in Bankruptcy: A Glimpse | Fox Rothschild LLP

If you were a party to a lawsuit or a contested matter in a bankruptcy proceeding, would you be interested in working towards settlement with the assistance of an impartial third party, that is, a mediator, rather than take on the significant cost of litigation and going to trial? More and more parties in bankruptcy cases are answering this question with a resounding yes.  See generally, Mediation Matters: The Use of Mediation in Large Chapter 11 Cases (Part I), ABI Journal, August 2023.

It is difficult to track the use of mediation in bankruptcy cases, as participation in mediation may occur informally and/or referral to mediation may not appear on the docket.  Reliance on mediation, at least in chapter 11 cases, appears to have been occurring for decades.  The results of a 2009 survey of bankruptcy judges revealed that “81 percent of judges reported using mediation in their chapter 11 cases in some capacity and plan negotiation was the most common reason for mediation.” Id. (citing Ralph Peeples, “The Uses of Mediation in Chapter 11 Cases,” 17 Am. Bankr. Inst. L. Rev. 401, 406 (2009), available at

More recently, there is a growing trend of reliance on

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