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Ben Parker Inc. debt approaches $8M

by Tim Linden | February 17, 2009
Ben Parker Inc. in Dallas ceased operations owing almost $8 million in debt, with accounts-receivables of about $3 million, according to court documents prepared by the firm's in-house accounting employee.

Ben Parker, who was a sole proprietor and 100 percent shareholder of the firm, died in mid-January, allegedly by his own hand. A temporary restraining order was granted in January, which froze the firm's assets and required the filing of financial statements. Those court documents revealed about 70 produce industry creditors, with about one-third of them owed at least $100,000 each. The largest produce creditor is owed more than $1 million. Some of the debt is for transportation and other services that will not qualify for priority PACA Trust procedures, but the vast majority of the debt does fall in that category.

The firm's debts appear to have mounted precipitously in the past 90 days, with $1.26 million of past-due invoices being older than 90 days, close to $2.4 million in the 61-90 day category, and almost $3 million on the 31-60 day list. About $650,000 worth of invoices were less than 30 days old as of Feb. 5, and another $570,000 worth of unpaid invoices had not been logged into the company's balance sheets at the time of Mr. Parker's death.

His tax return and balance sheet, which were part of the court filings, showed that he conducted between $50 million and $55 million in business in each of the last two years.

Attorneys representing both Ben Parker Inc. and creditors are currently negotiating a claims procedure.