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Date of Issue: March 03, 2010

Feds target Byrne’s money transfers

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tampa has filed an adversarial proceeding against the live-in girlfriend of former Anna Maria Island real estate developer Robert Byrne, claiming she received money from Byrne that should have gone to him, and possibly the court.

Court trustee Angela Welch Esposito, who represents the estate in Byrne’s personal bankruptcy proceeding, filed the complaint Feb. 23 against Kimberly Jeschke of Chicago.

The case involves a condo at 333 W. Hubbard St. in Chicago that Byrne purchased through a trust he owns.

Esposito alleges that Byrne bought the condo in 2005 for $1.175 million, then sold the property March 16, 2006, for $1.275 million.

He allegedly transferred the proceeds of the sale — $105,000 — to Jeschke, described by Esposito as Byrne’s girlfriend, and told the court he received “nothing of value” from Jeschke for the transfer.

The transfer was within two years of Byrne’s bankruptcy petition and Byrne was required to file that transfer with the bankruptcy court.

At his March 2008 bankruptcy hearing, Byrne told the court about the sale and transfer, but said the condo was “held in a land trust so my wife couldn’t get at it at the time.” He said he gave the sale proceeds to Jeschke because she was part-owner of the trust, but Esposito said bank documents reveal Byrne is the sole owner of the trust.

Byrne was living in Holmes Beach at that time and still was married to Arlene Byrne. The couple has since divorced.

Esposito alleges that Jeschke invested the $105,000 in her condo at 1000 Washington Blvd., Chicago, and, with the transfer funds from Byrne, paid off her mortgage.

Esposito claims the $105,000 transfer by Byrne was fraudulent and a fair portion, if not all, should have gone to him and been reported to the trustee. Esposito has asked the court for an undetermined amount of money from Jeschke.

Esposito also noted that within a few days of a December 2009 Isle of Man court order freezing $1.6 million in assets allegedly belonging to Robert and Arlene Byrne, Jeschke put the condo up for sale.

Byrne made the transfer “with the actual intent to delay or defraud” anyone he owed money to at the time of the transfer, or in the future, according to Esposito.

Jeschke was not part of the trust, was “not a good faith transferee,” and Byrne should have received the value of the transfer, said Esposito.

Byrne and former business partner Steve Noriega, through their company GSR Development LLC, at one time owned substantial amounts of Island real estate and had several development projects planned, including the Villa Rosa gated community in Anna Maria and the Rosa del Mar condominium project in Bradenton Beach.

The projects were not built and GSR went into bankruptcy in July 2006. Byrne was forced into personal bankruptcy in October 2007 by some of his creditors.

Several months after his bankruptcy petition was filed, Byrne declared to the court he had no income and only $500 in his bank account.

The court subsequently found $1.6 million in the Isle of Man, along with funds in other accounts in the Cook Islands and Tanzania.

Byrne reportedly owes nearly $5 million to unsecured creditors who invested in GSR, including debts to Island residents Kent Davis and Mel and Carole Yudofsky.

Jeschke, at one time an employee of Southwest Airlines according to a Facebook page, wrote on the same page in 2008 that she and Robert planned to get married and live in New Mexico.

The court documents state that Byrne and Jeschke live together in Chicago.