Ron Hertel files for bankruptcy
June 4, 2013
The bulk of his accumulated debt is from personal guarantees he made on business loans for his failed business R.W. Hertel and Sons. In 2009, a group of three creditors forced the home-building business owned by Hertel and his former partner Robert Fowler into involuntary bankruptcy in an attempt to collect debts of $42,000.
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.
Federal authorities seized Hertel and Fowler’s 67 foot Bertram yacht, “The Dram Buoy,” in January 2009 because of concerns the developers would steer the ship from U.S. waters.
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 2010, Fowler filed for personal bankruptcy listing $127.6 million in debt.
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.
Hertel owes his largest creditor, Dan Harkey’s Point Center Financial, $30.2 million. A lawsuit filed by Point Center investors accuses Harkey of fraud, using investments to fund the Harkeys’ lavish lifestyle, and contributions from developers of doomed projects financed by Point Center Financial to pay for Assemblywoman Diane Harkey’s (R-Dana Point) political career.
Hertel’s debts include $2.4 million owed to Paso Robles-based Heritage Oaks Bank, a $2.6 million debt to Mission Community Bank and $18.2 million owed to Ventura-based Affinity Bank.