Casper Contractor Wins $72,000 Judgment Against Pilcher Business
The weeds struggle as the only greenery on the hard-packed dirt lot around the unfinished, vacant house at 4429 E. 21st St.
Around the corner, the weeds fare a little better at the also unfinished -- but this one has shingles -- and likewise vacant house at 2222 Easthaven.
The houses are owned by SP Investments, LLC, a company wholly owned by local businessman Sonny Pilcher, who hired contractors to build them.
But he didn't pay them.
So on Wednesday, Natrona County District Court Judge Daniel Forgey granted a default judgment of $71,865.76 against SP Investments in favor of contractor Applied Construction Technologies, Inc.
The hearing took five minutes.
Forgey waited for Pilcher to show up for his own hearing, but that didn't happen, Applied Construction Technologies' attorney Ryan Schwartz said.
Despite the order granting the default judgment, Pilcher's no-show marked the latest in the litany of frustrations Applied Construction Technologies endured with SP Investments that started more than three years ago after it did excavation and foundation work for the houses. Pilcher didn't respond to the invoices, so the company filed liens on the properties in February 2014 and sued him in July 2014 to foreclose on the liens.
After exchanging initial documents, Applied Construction Technologies didn't hear from Pilcher, who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in July 2015 while he was serving a one-year prison term for tax fraud. According to his own filings, Pilcher owes nearly $6 million to individuals and businesses, but there have been allegations he has been hiding assets, too.
Pilcher tried to include SP Investments in the bankruptcy protection blocking creditors from seeking legal action against him for nearly $6 million he owes them. The bankruptcy court and district court rejected including SP Investments as a company in the personal bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, Pilcher hired Casper attorney, Kara Crawford-Fink, to represent him. But she asked, and District Court on March 10 granted, her request to withdraw her representation because he wouldn't participate in good faith. However, the required SP Investments to get a new attorney so the case could proceed.
That never happened, either.
So Forgey's decision now allows Applied Construction Technologies to foreclose on the interests in the two houses and sell them, Schwartz said.
"Based upon our current knowledge, those are the only two assets held by SP Investments, LLC," he said.
But any attempts to collect from Pilcher personally are blocked because of the bankruptcy court action, Schwartz said.
The matter is further complicated because there are four other creditors claiming interests in the properties, and they have to be settled before the houses can be sold, he said.
"The five of us together are working together to maximize the value of those two properties, and then we'll come up with some voluntary agreement to distribute those proceeds," Schwartz said.