Court rejects objections against trustee Hijmans: Eratos squeezed $4 million loan out of bankrupt Sabra

POSTED: 10/17/13 9:51 AM

St. Maarten – Sabra NV extended in 2006 personal loans totaling slightly more than $4 million to the company’s principals Mark and Johnny Erato. This appears from the company’s annual financial report for 2006 that was submitted to court by attorney Michiel Noordhoek in the bankruptcy hearing. On Tuesday, Sabra lost its appeal against the bankruptcy and it is now officially out of business. Sabra’s attorney Tony Engelsma appealed in vain to the court for the appointment of a different trustee, but the court rejected it; therefore attorney Norbert Hijmans remains the trustee in this bankruptcy.

Attorney Noordhoek represents a group of Americans who bought into Sabra’s Aquarius-project in Gibb’s Bay for a combined total of $3.3 million. Other duped buyers paid at least $7 million into the project that was never finished.

On August 20, the Court in First Instance declared Aquarius Company Ltd. and Sabra NV in state of bankruptcy. Sabra appealed. During the hearing on October 2, Sabra attempted to withdraw its appeal, but the court did not allow this.

Sabra however objected in the hearing against the appointment of attorney Norbert Hijmans as the trustee in the bankruptcy with the argument that Hijmans works at a law office – Bergman Zwanikken Snow Essed – that is involved in several court cases against the company, that most of the plaintiffs are clients of this law office and that the buyer of the Aquarius project – a company called Rose Garden NV – is also a client of the same office.

The court dismissed these arguments. “Attorney Hijmans had indicated that he is free to handle the bankruptcy as the trustee. The court considers the circumstances Sabra has brought forward insufficient to consider it fear justified that Hijmans will not perform his task as trustee.”

Attorney Noordhoek submitted to the court that the Aquarius-buyers have claims for millions of dollars on Sabra. Horwith Trucks Inc. also has a claim of a bit more than $320,000 on the bankrupt company.

After the purchase of the property by Rose Garden NV mortgage-lender CIBC’s claim on Sabra was satisfied to a large extent, though a claim of $1.3 million remains. The tax inspectorate also has a claim on Sabra of close to $340,000. A report from the trustee shows that Sabra did not file any tax returns after 2006.

Sabra’s 2006 financial report furthermore shows that the company received close to $44 million from the Aquarius-buyers in that year. The funds were not moved on to Aquarius, according to Noordhoek.

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