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Prossers Losing Cars, Lawyers

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Feb. 4, 2008 — Recent orders and court filings in the bankruptcy case of former Innovative Telephone owner Jeffrey Prosser show the sales of two expensive cars, the prospective sales of three others and the pending resignation of a lawyer who had worked for Prosser's wife, Dawn.
Gone are a St. Croix-based 2005 Cadillac Escalade, sold for $30,465 to John Wessel of St. Croix. A 2005 Mercedes Benz ML-500 sold for an even $30,000 to Sirri Hammad of St. Croix, a commissioner with the Public Services Commission.
The sales and earlier seizure of the vehicles was arranged by Stan Springel, the court-appointed trustee, and approved by the court Friday. Money raised from the sale will go to help pay the debts of Prosser and his former companies.
Going, with the court's blessing are three other luxury vehicles, all garaged in Florida. These are a 2005 Bentley Arnage RL, a 2003 Mercedes S 600, and a 2001 Mercedes S 600. How much they will bring the Prosser estate remains to be seen.
Seeking to go is Hamm & Barry, a three-person Christiansted law firm. The firm had represented Dawn Prosser in the part of the bankruptcy proceedings involved with real estate, jewelry and artwork. The Prosser camp and its lawyers had argued that many of these properties belong to Mrs. Prosser, while Springel and his lawyers said no, they were purchased by one of Prosser's holding companies, New ICC, and the property in question should be sold to pay debts.
Hamm & Barry said they want out of the case because the lawyer who had been doing the work, Mark W. Eckard, was in the process of leaving the firm, and that none of the remaining lawyers in the firm have "the in-depth knowledge of and/or experience with bankruptcy law required to represent Mrs. Prosser in these cases."
The bankruptcy court judge, Judith Fitzgerald, will hear the resignation motion at the next monthly hearing Feb. 28, presumably in Pittsburgh, her home courtroom. Usually motions of attorneys seeking to resign from a civil case, like this one, are granted by the judge.
Meanwhile, in another action, the Rural Telephone Financial Cooperative — the non-profit bank in Virginia that loaned Prosser and his companies more than half a billion dollars over the years — seeks to compel Prosser to respond to a long series of questions that he previously refused to answer, on the Fifth Amendment grounds that the answers might incriminate him. (See "Prosser Pleads The Fifth Countless Times in Bankruptcy Hearing.")
That motion will be argued at an April 11 hearing.
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