Robert Fowler files $127 million personal bankruptcy
October 31, 2010
Developer Robert Fowler, a partner in the failed R.W. Hertel and Sons, filed for personal bankruptcy listing $127.6 million in debt, on Sept. 26.
Fowler said $105.6 million of his accumulated debt is from personal guarantees he made on business loans, according to his bankruptcy filing. He claimed assets of $4.8 million that include his personal residence in Santa Margarita.
In 2009, a group of three creditors forced R.W. Hertel and Sons into involuntary bankruptcy in an attempt to collect debts of $42,000.
A virtual pittance as Ron Hertel, Fowler’s business partner, asserted under oath that he personally guaranteed $145 million of R.W. Hertel and Sons’ debt. It does not appear that Hertel has filed for personal bankruptcy at this time.
Fowler’s personal bankruptcy filing shows he also owes $1.5 million in federal and state taxes.
During the corporate bankruptcy, Hertel testified that the partners may have used money from the business to purchase luxury items such as yachts and thoroughbred horses.
The “Dram Buoy,” a 67 foot Bertram yacht owned by Hertel and Fowler, was seized in January 2009 because of concerns the developers would steer the ship from U.S. waters. Federal authorities, acting under a court under requested by City National Bank, seized the 2005 Bertram yacht including guns, ammunition and small arms, according to court documents.
U.S. Marshals also seized the partners’ 106-foot “Cajun Princess” to cover debts owed for maritime and unpaid contractor liens of more than $4 million. They were refurbishing the 1988 Broward yacht slated to be valued at approximately $14 million after the ship’s remodel, according to court records.
In addition, VFS Financing filed suit against Hertel and Fowler for a $7.15 million default loan the pair guaranteed personally for the purchase of a business jet.
A meeting of Fowler’s creditors is scheduled for Nov. 8.