Bankruptcy for Bridge Owners

BENWOOD – Owners of the Bellaire Bridge have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a move that means they must soon liquidate all the assets of their company, the Delta Demolition Group Inc.

Lee and Krystal Chaklos of Virginia Beach, Va., however, own the bridge through a separate company, KDC Investments. They started bankruptcy proceedings for the Delta Demolition Group Inc. company March 14, according to filings with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Eastern Virginia.

The couple indicate in court documents they have 56 creditors seeking payment from them. They list assets of between $100,000 and $500,000, and liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million.

A long history of legal proceedings surrounds the Bellaire Bridge issue, as does the seemingly never-ending effort by government agencies to see it is taken down.

The most recent court action took place in November, when Lee Chaklos appeared in federal court in Columbus to face charges of criminal contempt. Chaklos had allegedly failed to disclose more than $2 million in liens against the bridge during prior legal action.

Briefs in the criminal contempt case were filed by attorneys in December, and Judge Algenon Marbley has yet to rule in the matter.

The three liens against the bridge collectively total $2,126,400, and include obligations to DAC Audit Services of Clarkston, Mich. of $800,000; RFK Enterprises of New Castle, Pa.. for $1,206,400; and Scrap Dynamics Corp. of Aurora, Ohio, for $100,000.

Of the three, only RFK Enterprises was listed among the 56 creditors in the Chakloses’ filing.

Under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a business seizes operations and the corporation’s assets are liquidated to pay creditors.

“I do not believe Delta Demolition Inc. has any ownership interests in the bridge,” said attorney Dan Guida, who represents the city of Benwood in matters relating to the Bellaire Bridge. “Rather, KDC Investments LLC owns the bridge. Delta was the contractor who was to demolish the bridge and sought investors to subsidize the project.”

Guida said he didn’t know why Delta Demolition didn’t list DAC Audit Services and Scrap Dynamics as creditors. He also doesn’t believe the bankruptcy filing will have any impact on movement toward demolition of the bridge.

“It’s just another chapter in the book,” Guida said.

The bankruptcy filing indicates Jeffrey S. Anderson of the Harry Jernigan law firm in Virginia Beach is representing the Chakloses in the bankruptcy proceedings. Anderson did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.