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Date of Issue: August 02, 2007

GSR deadline Thursday

Hear ye, hear ye.

The federal bankruptcy court in Tampa has announced that Thursday, Aug. 2, is the absolute and final deadline for anyone with a claim against bankrupt GSR Development LLC to file a notice against the estate or forever hold their peace.

Not that it might make much difference.

GSR has already announced that it is abandoning any claims to any profits in the sale of nearly all of its properties, and efforts to sell those properties the past year have ended in failure. Only the company’s Rosa del Mar property in Bradenton Beach is still up for sale as part of the estate. Bon Eau Enterprises LLC has already taken ownership of all but one lot at GSR’s Villa Rosa development in Anna Maria.

GSR representatives have said the company has no money to pay unsecured creditors, unless GSR properties are sold for the fully appraised value.

In a down real estate market on Anna Maria Island, that’s not a highly probable event, particularly since Island Vacation Properties recently proposed to market GSR’s Rosa del Mar property in Bradenton Beach for sale at $8.5 million, about $300,000 less than what GSR owes the bank for it.

To be sure, there is money available at GSR after Bon Eau Enterprises LLC pledged $750,000 to GSR in return for a release from any liability involved in its “loan/mortgage” on GSR’s Villa Rosa property in Anna Maria.

But $500,000 of that money is earmarked for “administrative” fees to pay lawyers and accountants involved in the case. The remaining $250,000 is being used by the unsecured creditors committee in “adversarial proceedings” against GSR principals Robert Byrne and Steve Noriega and other “targets” involved with GSR in its financial dealings.

Those financial dealings resulted in an abundance of heavily mortgaged real estate holdings for the company that gave cash out to Byrne and Noriega, but no completed construction projects. The “deals” didn’t return any money to the unsecured creditors, who now claim they are owed $4.6 million by the bankrupt company.

The unsecured creditors invested retirement accounts, personal savings, stocks and bonds and their own properties with Byrne and Noriega, backed by personal guarantees from the men.

Byrne and Noriega produced net worth statements of $43 million and $23 million respectively, but to date, only Cynthia Graef, who invested her life savings of $25,000 with the company, has been repaid.

Even that was not without a struggle. Graeff had to hire an attorney and get a judgment against Byrne before he was forced to cough up her 25 grand.

With the GSR bankruptcy case now apparently winding down, Byrne and Noriega are long gone from Anna Maria Island.

At last report, Byrne had moved to Chicago and was planning to get married in New Mexico. Noriega now lives in Tampa and reportedly is working on an east Manatee County property development.

The men were, however, due in bankruptcy court July 31 for the initial hearing in “adversarial proceedings” brought against them and other “targets” by the unsecured creditors committee.

Committee lawyers have alleged that there was a conspiracy involved in GSR’s finances and that Byrne, Noriega and the targets should pay at least $3 million to the unsecured creditors.

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