The National Sports Collectors Convention announced in a letter to exhibitors that the show has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. The letter said the decision to file was made because of a judgment against former show manager Bob Byer, who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection earlier this year.
The letter said the suit against Byer has been “passed through to the National” and that on the advice of the NSCC’s attorney, the show has filed for reorganization to allow it to “move forward, unencumbered” with plans for next year’s show in Chicago and beyond. David Kasen, the attorney who filed the bankruptcy petition for the NSCC, said the judgment was filed against Byer by Athlete Business Network, which represented athletes who signed autographs at the 2005 National in Chicago.
Kasen did not specify how much the judgment was for. ABN was one of more than 50 creditors who were owed a total of more than $2 million on Byer’s bankruptcy petition, although the amount owed to ABN was listed as “unknown” on the petition. Byer listed both personal and business creditors on his petition.
Late last year, the National won a judgment of its own against Byer for more than $53,000, most of that from unpaid bills from the 2005 show in Chicago. “Even though we won the arbitration judgment against former National Convention show manager Bob Byer, he filed bankruptcy and walked away free and clear,” National Sports Collectors Convention Board president Etta Hersh said Wednesday.
Hersh, who has been at the helm of the NSCC for a decade, declined to give the amount of money that was being sought in the lawsuit by ABN, but she did say it was a “considerable amount of money, and more than the NSCC has.” She characterized the transferring of liability to the NSCC a “trickle down effect,” and added that no board signatures appear on the contracts in question, only Byer’s name. “We have to protect the National, the show and the dealers,” said Hersh.
Court records indicate the NSCC board held a teleconference on June 11 and approved a recommendation for the Chapter 11 filing. Kasen said the NSCC has up to six months to submit a reorganization plan to a bankruptcy court in New Jersey, where the show is headquartered.
Hersh said the re-organization plan would be submitted in September, but would not give a specific date. That plan is then voted on by the creditors. “We expect this to be successful and see no reason we shouldn’t get a plan approved,” Kasen said.