SIST Bankruptcy Case Dismissed by Federal Judge/FBI Probe in Hands of U.S. Attorneys

By: Mikel Lauber Email
By: Mikel Lauber Email

The group that has been the source of questions and controversy in the Shawano area is no longer under the protection of Federal Bankruptcy Court.

A Federal Bankrupcy Judge ruled that the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection of the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology (SIST) be dismissed Tuesday.

Last November, law enforcement linked SIST to an apparent hit list with the names of 60 people, including Shawano City officials and community leaders. The FBI met with the people on that list to let them know about the “implied threats”. According to the FBI, their investigation into the case is over. They're currently waiting on word from the U.S. Attorneys Office on how they'd like the FBI to proceed.

But as that investigation has remained quiet, their financial issues have taken the forefront. SIST and its subsidiaries reorganized in Delaware last spring, before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection there on March 16th.

According to Federal Court records, SIST and its subsidiaries have nearly $22 million in liabilities, including nearly $14 million in unsecured debt.

In the following months, many of SIST’s creditors motioned to lift the automatic stay so they could move forward with foreclosure proceedings.

On September 15th, an apparent lack of progress by SIST in reducing their debt led the court to issue an Order to Show Cause, demanding SIST to show why the case should not be dismissed.

According to court documents, SIST failed to provide any such evidence. SIST’s failure to file any tax returns since 2004, their continued loss of finances, and “the Debtors inattention to actions it should or could be taking to market its assets”, “gross mismanagement” of funds, and “lack of candor” and are among the reasons listed to warrant dismissal. The entire court document can be found linked to above.

Numerous SIST properties had gone into foreclosure before they entered bankruptcy protection. Those foreclosures, as well as Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt's defamation lawsuit against the group, are now able to move forward.

Shawano City Administrator Jim Stadler says this was a good outcome for their city. "It's unfortunate that it has come to a bankruptcy situation", Stadler said. "However we do feel it will create an opportunity to see many of these vacant buildings occupied by legitimate businesses that will pay their taxes, utiliy bills, and comply with city ordinaces."

You can see our entire Edward R. Murrow Award Winning 'Secrets in Shawano' Investigation here

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