Bennett Funding Group, Inc.

Matecumbe was appointed by Richard C. Breeden, Trustee, to oversee the management and disposition of certain assets of the Bennett Funding Group. Bennett Funding Group, a Syracuse financial empire that included hotels, resorts and gambling enterprises, was accused in a 1996 civil complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission of cheating thousands of creditors and investors out of roughly $1 billion. Located in Syracuse, Bennett Funding offered investments in equipment leased to companies and organizations. Investors were repaid from the underlying leases. However, federal prosecutors found that the company sold leases for equipment that didn't exist, or sold the same lease to multiple investors. Money from investors actually went to fund investments in “other assets”. Working with the Trustee, and counsel from Simpson, Thatcher & Bartlett, MCM held direct responsibility for various commercial and residential real estate assets, pleasure yachts, floating casinos, and several large gambling ships which were in process of being launched. Over a three-year period, MCM was responsible in part for the eventual disposition of these assets which resulted in a recovery of nearly 58% of the defrauded investors’ investment.

Credit Agricole Portfolio

MCM was awarded an assignment to take over ownership, management, workout, and eventual disposition of an 880,000ff ($400mm) portfolio of distressed debt and real estate located throughout the French territories of St. Martin, Guadeloupe, St. Barts, and Martinique. The portfolio was securitized in connection with an issuance underwritten by Lehman Brothers. Lehman, as Trustee, engaged Matecumbe to recover as much cash from the assets as possible. With offices in Point a Pitre (Guadeloupe), Paris, and Fort Lauderdale, Matecumbe assembled a team to tackle the complexities involved with distressed debt recovery under French law. As the largest lender in the area, the portfolio accounted for nearly 15% of all loan assets in the region. Failed luxury hotels, office buildings, condominiums, retail shopping centers, sugar cane fields, marinas, single family homes, and submerged land were typical collateral types. With an historical “socialized” approach to borrower/lender relationships it was very difficult to enforce loan provisions and actually collect unpaid balances through foreclosure, deed-in-lieu, and complex workout agreements. Ultimately, MCM was able to work through the portfolio and recover a much higher percentage of book value than projected in Lehman’s pro-forma.

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