A “fraudulent” bankruptcy petition submitted on behalf of a major Burger King franchisee caught lawyers by surprise but showcased the ability of bankruptcy courts to quickly root out shady conduct.
Carrols Corp., the largest Burger King franchisee in the US, had at least five bankruptcy petitions submitted in its name over the past week by an individual with an apparent history of frivolous legal actions. The company quickly said the bankruptcy petitions were fake, and its general counsel said it’s “not a financially troubled company.”
Though abuse of the bankruptcy system isn’t unheard of, the Carrols case was notable for the audacity of the filer, who could face ramifications for his actions.
“I feel like I’ve seen some pretty insane things, but this is new to me,” said Stacy A. Lutkus, a McDermott Will & Emery restructuring partner who worked as a clerk to the judge who oversaw the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.
The Carrols petitions, filed under Chapter 15 of the US bankruptcy code, appear to have been mailed in by Robert W. Johnson of Buffalo, N.Y. Johnson appears to have a prolific history of submitting pro se lawsuits, including against Donald Trump,