Levitt and Sons' Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing has left a number of other companies in financial limbo. In the state of Florida alone, at least a dozen companies have filed liens against the builder.
Cloud 9, an Orlando-based plumbing firm, is owed $26,267 from Levitt and Sons. Vice president Rick Fender says that while the lack of payment hasn't put the company in jeopardy of going under, it has put a strain on the family-owned business. "We got lines of credit, paid for the equipment, paid for the fuel, and paid our employees," Fender told BUILDER Online. But they did not get paid for the job.
Levitt and Sons, which builds homes in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, halted all projects in October in an attempt to renegotiate $100 million in debt owed to an estimated 15,000 creditors. Liens filed against the home builder in Florida alone total $1.4 million.
Recouping that money will not be an easy task. According to information posted on Levitt and Sons' Web site, suppliers and vendors who are owed payment for services prior to November 9, which is the date of the Chapter 11 filing, by law cannot be paid "without specific authorization from the Bankruptcy Court."
According to Brian Shaw of Shaw, Gussis, Fisham, Glantz, Wolfban, and Toubin LLC of Chicago, there are only two guaranteed ways a firm can get unpaid monies: a court order and company reorganization. After those two methods, receiving payment can get complicated, but Shaw says in some instances, if proper steps are taken, there may be a small glimmer of hope.
"If a mechanic's lien claim has done everything to protect [the company's] rights, there is a decent likelihood that they will get paid in full," Shaw says. "There is less of a chance if they have not."
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.