At all costs

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German painter Anton Sattler was invited into the homes of some of America’s most renowned families to restore old rooms to their youthful beauty—to revitalize them, give them new lives. “Auchincloss, Roosevelt, Rockefeller,” lists the website for his company, founded in 1891. Anton Sattler, Inc., worked such magic on Gloria Vanderbilt’s former dining room, where the company restored 100-year-old, watercolored Chinese wallpaper.

Patricia Kluge and Bill Moses, on the grounds of their vineyard. The couple filed for bankruptcy protection last week, and claimed estimated liabilities up to $50 million.

 

Last year, the Sattler company set to work on Patricia Kluge’s 45-room Albemarle House, where it had been contracted to remove old paint and putty from the home’s exterior, then apply a few new coats. The eight-week job held an estimated cost of $285,090—a price that was paid down to $67,590 by Kluge and her husband, William Moses, according to court documents.

Then came the financial struggles. An April 2010 out-of-court settlement with realtor Frank Hardy, Inc., over a $1.9 million breach of contract lawsuit. A Sotheby’s auction for the items within Albemarle House, and efforts to sell the mansion itself—first for $100 million, then for $16 million. Foreclosures on Kluge and Moses’ winery, real estate development and home. Donald Trump’s successful $6.2 million bid for the bulk of Kluge’s winery operation—a moment’s respite, as The Donald’s associates said Moses and Kluge would remain involved in the business. And, last week, news that Moses and Kluge had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Now, Anton Sattler, Inc., which filed a complaint in Albemarle County Circuit Court in February to resolve the alleged debt, is one of 54 companies and individuals notified about Kluge’s bankruptcy. The bankruptcy documents put Kluge and Moses’ estimated number of creditors between 50 and 99, and put estimated liabilities at between $10 million and $50 million. Creditors have an opportunity to meet in federal bankruptcy court on July 15 to discuss legal options.

The bankruptcy documents include multi-million-dollar creditors like Bank of America, Sonabank and Farm Credit of the Virginias, but also shed light on smaller organizations like Sattler that have worked with Kluge.

“They’re current with us,” says Gene Bumgardner, president of locally based OFM Computer Systems, which is named among the 54. OFM worked as Kluge’s information technology consultant for roughly 10 years, and Bumgardner described his company’s working relationship with Kluge as “very good.”

“It’s very disappointing, and very alarming, for that to happen to anybody, especially somebody that you’ve got personal contact with,” Bumgardner tells C-VILLE about Kluge’s bankruptcy. “You read about it, but it really hits home when it’s someone you know.”

Anton Sattler, Inc., is represented by local law firm Morin & Barkley, LLP. An attorney for the firm declined to comment on the Sattler company’s complaint and the Kluge bankruptcy.

According to the federal Bankruptcy Code, Chapter 7 requires debtors to sell off assets to pay creditors. Kluge and Moses are also required to attend the July 15 creditors meeting to answer questions that might arise. Kermit Rosenberg, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney representing Kluge and Moses, did not return a request for comment.

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