EL PASO, Texas - A federal judge Tuesday decided to keep the bankruptcy case of William "Billy" Abraham as it was filed, under Chapter 11 reorganization.
The El Paso businessman was in bankruptcy court for a hearing regarding the future of his assets, which include several historic buildings downtown.
At issue is whether Abraham should be allowed to re-organize his debts in a Chapter 11 filing or liquidate his assets in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy so that his creditors can be repaid.
The case stems back from a debt Abraham owes to Ivan Aguilera, the son of the late singer Juan Gabriel. In the summer of 2017, a judge ordered Abraham to pay Aguilera's company more than a million dollars for a Juan Gabriel performance at the Don Haskins Center in 2015. Abraham was the promoter and claimed Juan Gabriel told him he would perform free of charge.
Aguilera disputes that. Instead of paying the money, Abraham filed for bankruptcy. Michael Shane, Aguilera's attorney in El Paso, asked bankruptcy judge Christopher Mott to allow Abraham's assets to be sold off to pay the debt. That would include historic properties like the Caples, Toltec and Kress buildings in downtown El Paso.
Shane argued Abraham was mismanaging his assets with no real plan to generate revenue in order to pay off the debt. Shane also criticized Abraham about inaccuracies in his bankruptcy schedule, the series of documents every debtor has to file with the court. The schedule includes financial information.
Abraham admitted he didn't review his bankruptcy schedule as carefully as he should have. When Abraham took the stand, he also said he has a plan and needs time to reorganize his assets. Abraham also said he fully intends to pay off his debts.
After making the decision to keep Abraham's case under Chapter 11 reorganization. Judge Mott decided to appoint a trustee to help oversee the process and find a resolution for Abraham and his creditors.
"Mr. Abraham has been dishonest in litigation and in talking about his financial affairs," Judge Mott said, "an independent party needs to be involved."