Bankruptcy Won’t Protect Photo School President from $2.4 Million Debt
Hallmark Institute of Photography president George J. Rosa III won’t be able to escape a $2.4 million debt to a Massachusetts bank through a bankruptcy filing, according to a recent court order.
The federal bankruptcy court in Massachusetts granted a default motion last week to People’s United Bank of Springfield, Massachusetts, which sued Rosa one year ago for $2.2 million in unpaid loans. The court granted the motion because Rosa never responded to the bank’s lawsuit against him. (Rosa now owes the bank $2.4 million because of accruing interest.)
Rosa had filed for federal bankruptcy protection in August, 2009. People’s United Bank–his biggest creditor– subsequently sued him to prevent the bankruptcy court from discharging the debt that he owed to the bank. In its lawsuit, the bank alleged that Rosa kept two sets of books at HIP to hide assets from the bank and divert money for his personal use. HIP is located in Turners Falls, Massachusetts.
PUB took control of HIP in the spring of 2009, after Rosa began defaulting on his loans. The bank sold the school to Premier Education Group, which has continued to operate the photography school, and has kept Rosa as president.
Rosa’s bankruptcy case is still pending, and the court order protecting PUB’s debt from discharge in the bankruptcy case does not protect other creditors. They include B&H Foto & Electronics of Boston, which is owed more than $160,000, as well as printers, caterers, credit card companies, and other suppliers whom Rosa owes varying amounts of money.