Interesting headline: "Golf course's bankruptcy is a sign of industry's pain". After close to 25 years as a debt consolidation lawyer offering bankruptcy services in Indiana, I couldn't help thinking that most of the time, when a person files individual bankruptcy in Indiana, or when an entrepreneur files small business bankruptcy in Indiana, it's a sign of the economy's general pain.
So, am I saying that individuals and small business owners have played no part in causing their own financial difficulties? Am I implying that every bankruptcy is simply the result of the recession we've just endured? Of course not. What I am saying is that many, many of the tens of thousands of Hoosiers that have turned to me and to the good bankruptcy attorneys in Indiana who are my colleagues in the four Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices have a history of being very responsible in handling their finances. Did they make any mistakes? Given 20/20 hindsight, certainly. Did they buy "too much house" and now need help stopping foreclosure? In some cases. Did they sock away too little in their emergency funds? Sure, but that probably could be said of most of us.
The reality is, the recession has hurt employment, and that has meant more people without income to cover their bills and without adequate health insurance when medical disaster strikes their families. As a longtime Indiana bankruptcy attorney, I'm always debunking myths about bankruptcy, in particular the myth that bankruptcy in Indiana is only for "deadbeats".
No, what's true is that it's often a combination of factors such as job loss and medical expenses that is so difficult for even financially responsible people to overcome.
The Legends Golf course in Franklin, Indiana is actually a good example of what I mean. When Legends first opened twenty years ago, the economy was in a far different place than it is today. Jim Fazio had a worldwide reputation as a designer of golf courses. Former Indiana U. basketball coach Bobby Knight was one of several big-name investors. By 2005, plans were being made for an entire community to be built around Legends with condos and luxury homes.
Then, two big "hits" came: rainy springs and summers - and the recession. Suddenly there were more golf courses than golfers to play on them… The rising costs of fertilizer, grass seed, and fuel added to Legends' financial problems, because in such a competitive environment, costs couldn't be passed along to users of the course.
Playing the coulda, woulda, shoulda game isn't going to do any good. Instead, Legends filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy to "give the course time to address its finances, hold off paying debts and remain in business while the owners work out a plan".
Coulda's, woulda's, and shouda's don't do any good for individual bankruptcy in Indiana, either.
When I began three years ago writing these Bankruptcy in Indiana articles, I wanted to help folks who know they need to do something about their debt situation, and who think they might be ready to get help getting started!