Bankruptcy filing spells out bank loan debts

YOUNGSTOWN – More than $601,000 to purchase a Mahoning County golf course, $150,000 to operate a waste disposal company and a $279,034 mortgage on a Salt Springs Road office building are among the debts owners of bankrupt D&L Energy owe to Huntington National Bank.

Court documents filed Friday in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of D&L Energy spelled out how D&L intends to pay much of that debt, including pointing out that the High Grove Golf Course purchased in 2007 by Holly Serensky Lupo, part owner of D&L Energy, was sold at public auction last month for $755,817. Those funds will be used to pay off the remaining golf course loans, D&L attorneys said.

Asked about the debts this week, Huntington Bank’s regional president for the Mahoning Valley Frank Hierro said he couldn’t comment about a specific bank client.

Following a bankruptcy hearing Friday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kay Woods said she will allow D&L Energy to pay several of its operating expenses including payroll, and fees charged by an environmental company hired to complete a report due to the U.S. EPA by Monday.

If the report spelling out details from cleanup of improperly dumped oilfield waste was not filed by Monday, attorneys for D&L Energy argued that the U.S. EPA likely would begin charging D&L Energy penalties of up to $37,500 per day.

Cleanup of the discharged waste and other related financial burdens led in part to D&L Energy’s bankruptcy claim earlier this week. D&L and subsidiary PetroFlow on Tuesday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

D&L Energy’s majority owner Benedict Lupo, 62, of Poland, is charged with a violation of the federal Clean Water Act, accused of ordering an employee from a sister company to dump brine, crude and other waste into a storm drain. After the incident earlier this year, Lupo resigned as a D&L officer, but still owns more than 80 percent of the company’s stock. He has pleaded innocent to the federal criminal charge.

Ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the mess, D&L Energy became saddled with costs of more than $1 million. The U.S. EPA also ordered D&L to submit a final report detailing the cleanup records no later than Monday.

Prior to this week’s bankruptcy filing, D&L had hired EnviroScience of Ohio to oversee the work and complete the report. However, because D&L said it does not have the money to pay the bill, EnviroScience has not completed the report.

Friday, Woods granted permission to proceed in the interim with some stipulations, court records indicate.

Also during the hearing, Woods granted permission for D&L to pay employees and routine business expenses; she prohibited utility companies from turning off service; and authorized a trust bank account. The hearing will be continued May 14 in Youngstown.