Delray Beach-based Exotic Collectors Nursery:

US (FL): Big plant nursery files bankruptcy to halt foreclosure

A large plant nursery owner has filed bankruptcy to stave off a foreclosure lawsuit. Delray Beach-based Exotic Collectors Nursery filed its bankruptcy petition on Nov. 26 as a Chapter 12 – a special designation for farmers or fishers that has a higher debt ceiling than other reorganization cases. The petition was signed by Juan A. Mercado, as president of the debtor.

The petition lists assets of $950,000 and liabilities of nearly $4 million – the largest being a $3.37 million from South Florida Federal Land Bank Association, an affiliate of Royal Palm Beach-based Farm Credit of Florida.

The largest farm credit bureau in Florida, it filed a foreclosure lawsuit against Exotic Collectors Nursery in 2011. Farm Credit of Florida had $72.2 million in noncurrent loans, or 9 percent of total loans, on Sept. 30 and was under a written enforcement agreement with its regulators to improve its performance and condition.

Boca Raton attorney John E. Page, who represents the debtor, said his client hopes to restructure the loan, the amount of which is in dispute.

His client owns a 10-acre site with a 7,840-square-foot building at 9416 158th Road South, west of Delray Beach, and a 75-acre farm at 9687 S.E. 126th Blvd. in Okeechobee. It previously sold properties in Belle Glade and St. Lucie County to partially pay down its loan.

Other creditors include Bank of America, with $207,617 for a commercial line of credit, and Robert Davis, Jr. and Janice Davis, with a $250,000 mortgage.

The debtor had revenue of $767,866 in 2012 and $817,653 so far this year.


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