Facing foreclosure proceedings against several properties, Plainville’s Dessin/Fournir has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The luxury furniture and textile design firm is led by Plainville businessman Chuck Comeau, who led a revitalization of downtown Hays and Plainville by restoring historic buildings and relocating his business headquarters from Los Angeles to his hometown.
Petitions filed Monday in bankruptcy court show Dessin/Fournir and its associated companies DFC Holdings Inc. and DFC Corp. owe between $10 million and $50 million to more than 200 creditors. The three companies have assets totaling $6.5 million, including just over $59,000 in cash, according to the filings.
The bankruptcy filing halts foreclosure action by Sunflower Bank ordered by the court in a March ruling from Ellis County District Court Judge Blake Bittel.
In a summary judgment issued March 26, Bittel ordered almost $419,000 paid to Sunflower Bank for mortgages and loans defaulted on by DFC Holdings and associated companies including Oak Street Planing Mill, Classic Cloth, Liberty Group and Palmer Hargrave, and Chuck and Shirley Comeau and business associates Lenice Larson, Pasadena, Calif., and Christopher Mraz, Los Angeles. Larson and Mraz are listed as members of the Dessin/Fournir board of directors.
Sunflower’s foreclosure names one property in Hays — an office and storage building at 201 E. 12th owned by Oak Street Planing Mill.
Seven properties in Plainville are also named in the foreclosure: 108 N. Main, 205 N. Main, 211 and 211 1/2 W. Mill, 221 W. Mill, 317 W. Mill and 311 S. Washington.
In addition, Bittel ruled that Sunflower’s claim to foreclosure takes precedence over other claims, including Bank of Hays, which filed its own foreclosure petition against DFC last year including a $7.5 million mortgage for a portion of the Rooks County properties, inventory and a $6 million life insurance policy on Chuck Comeau.
Aaron Martin, a Salina attorney representing Sunflower Bank, said when contacted by The Hays Daily News, the bank does not comment on pending litigation. Neither Ashley Comeau, representing her in-laws and the DFC companies, nor Edward Nazar, a Wichita attorney representing the companies in the bankruptcy proceedings, returned calls Friday.
The bankruptcy filings come two months after Dessin/Fournir closed its Chicago and New York showrooms. Business of Home, a publication for interior designers, reported Wednesday that Chuck Comeau sent an email Tuesday to Dessin/Fournir clients about the bankruptcy filing.
“I failed to understand the ‘right sizing’ for our company after the recession, and instead thought we should try to maintain jobs,” the publication reported the email saying.
Among the creditors listed in the bankruptcy filings are individuals from Plainville, Phillipsburg, Hays and Palco in amounts ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars, design companies across the country in amounts of thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, and even singer Lionel Richie, who is owed more than $15,000 for customer deposits, according to the bankruptcy filing.
Among the creditors listed with the largest unsecured claims against the companies are the IRS for more than $372,000; Bank One Cardmember Services for just over $153,000; Adams, Brown Beren & Ball for over $33,000; and the Rooks County Treasurer for just over $9,300.