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Date of Issue: November 15, 2007

Islanders join upcoming GSR court battle

With the continuing drama of GSR Development LLC due to resume on Jan. 10, 2008, in federal bankruptcy court, Island residents Mel and Carole Yudofsky and Kent Davis, along with former Islander Patricia Hart, last week retained attorney Steve Berman. He will represent their interests in the “adversarial action” against GSR Development LLC principals Robert Byrne and Steve Noriega, and other “targets.”

Davis, Hart and the Yudofskys collectively invested nearly $1 million with the now bankrupt GSR, investments that were allegedly backed by the personal guarantees of either Byrne or Noriega. The three parties have joined the litigation separately from the unsecured creditors committee.

The committee last August charged Noriega, Byrne and the “targets” with 14 offenses related to the failed company, including criminal usury, fraudulent inducement, civil conspiracy, intentional fraudulent transfers, breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence.

Although now claiming to be unable to pay any of GSR’s unsecured creditors, Byrne had reportedly represented his net financial worth at $32 million to investors and lending institutions, while Noriega allegedly claimed a net worth of about $24 million.

The unsecured creditors committee has asked for a minimum judgment of $30 million plus expenses. Representing the committee in the case are attorneys John Anthony and Cheryl Thompson. Anthony is a Holmes Beach property owner.

Bankruptcy court Judge K. Rodney May has set a trial date of Jan. 10, 2008. The court has said previously that had the charges against the defendants not been brought in bankruptcy court, they could have been made to the state attorney’s office for criminal prosecution.

The U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Court is located in downtown Tampa at 801 N. Florida Ave., Courtroom 9B.

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