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Date of Issue: January 03, 2007

Former Island developer gets the Island boot

galati pic
Get out now
A notice posted two weeks ago at 300 Gulf Drive S. in Bradenton Beach by the Manatee County Circuit Court informs Steve Noriega that he has until Dec. 18 to vacate the premises or be forcibly evicted. Islander Photo: Paul Roat

The man who once bragged that he and his company would change the face of Island real estate and development has been evicted from a Bradenton Beach condominium following a mortgage foreclosure suit brought by Carol and Mel Yudofsky of Holmes Beach.

Steve Noriega of financially troubled GSR Development LLC was served with eviction papers at the Capri Condominiums at 300 Gulf Drive S., Unit B, in Bradenton Beach last week after the Yudofskys won a mortgage foreclosure action in civil court.

The Yudofskys allege they are still owed $191,000 by Noriega and his GSR partner, Robert Byrne, and have filed a claim with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Tampa that is handling the GSR bankruptcy case.

Noriega does not live at the condominium and, apparently, no longer lives on Anna Maria Island.

Sources familiar with Noriega say he now lives in Tampa and rarely ventures to the GSR office on Manatee Avenue or to the Island to oversee GSR’s crumbling real estate fortunes.

Noriega and Byrne did win a small victory in bankruptcy court last week. Judge K. Rodney May extended GSR’s allowed time frame as the exclusive agent to file a company reorganization plan until Jan. 9, preventing any of the major creditors in the case from presenting their own reorganization plan.

GSR’s original filing date was Nov. 13, but May allowed an extension of that date following a motion by GSR lawyer Richard Prosser.

The company also has to list all its financial assets and transactions on that date, a requirement that has likely sent Noriega and Byrne scrambling to piece together the details of their failed real estate empire following the boom years of Island real estate sales and development.

Some of the major creditor banks in the GSR case, along with the unsecured creditors committee, are lobbying May to have all GSR assets sold and the proceeds distributed to all creditors, secured and unsecured, before any funds are given to GSR.

GSR has retained the services of William Maloney to piece together its financial picture along with a reorganization plan and present that to the court for approval. Maloney will receive a $125,000 bonus if he can reorganize the company in order that all creditors, secured and unsecured, are paid back.

At the same time, the unsecured creditors committee is asking the court to hire its own forensic accountant to trace GSR’s money and assets.

Sources close to the bankruptcy case say GSR has received approximately $74 million in loans during the past four years.

When it filed for bankruptcy on July 13, GSR listed assets of $47 million against debts of just $33 million, including about $6 million owed to unsecured creditors.

Byrne and Noriega have presented personal net worth financial statements of $33 million and $22 million respectively.