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Beverage Trade Network

2 Bello bankruptcy clawback victims strike back with their own lawsuits

By Jeff Siegel, Contributing Editor and Lewis Perdue, Executive Editor

 

What do you do when you’re forced to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars — or more — that you’ve earned because a bankruptcy court determines that you got improper payments from an insolvent company or person? Your only alternative is to sue the person who filed for bankruptcy to get your money back.

 

Wine Executive News has learned that’s what two Napa businesses have done, claiming that would-be winery mogul Michael Bello deceived them in much the same way he did his bankruptcy creditors when WallDesign, his Southern California building contractor firm imploded.

 

Creditors claim the company made improper payments to more than 8o businesses and wants those businesses to pay back the funds. Those clawback victims range from lavish resorts, yacht service companies, exclusive country clubs, tony horse-racing accounts and yacht service companies down to the vineyard managers and employees and even the people who cleaned house at the family’s Oakville estate. (Premium subscribers can access clawback list at this link.)

 

Bello has not filed for personal bankruptcy, therefore two of his clawback victims have filed suit against him.

 

Wine Executive News subscribers please click here to read the complete article.

Also In This Article:

The full text of the following sections is available to premium subscribers of Wine Executive News.

  • Clawbacks not unusual in bankruptcies

  • First two suits filed: more expected

  • Secret bank accounts at issue

  • Charges: fraud, breach of contract, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, conspiracy

  • Bella Casa, household manager to the wealthy, claims it was scammed

  • Abreu charges Bello knew the payments were improper

  • Suit alleges fraudulent transfer of tasting room to son

Wine Executive News subscribers may access these full court documents:

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