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Most unsecured creditors have not been paid under bankruptcy plan

For some of Clem Carinalli's former investors, Chapter 11 is proving to be a longer saga than expected.

Two and a half years after the Santa Rosa developer filed the largest personal bankruptcy in Sonoma County history, most of his unsecured creditors have yet to see a dime from the liquidation of his holdings.

And some feel they've been left in the dark as to why.

"I was hopeful to have some money by now," said Bob Sinai, a 95-year-old retired attorney who said he often wakes up in the middle of the night blaming himself for investing his life's savings with Carinalli.

"We'd like to know what property they've sold, what property they haven't sold and why they haven't sold it," he said.

It is unclear whether Carinalli is continuing to be paid $15,000 a month to act as a consultant while his holdings are sold off. He declined comment. Andrea Wirum, trustee for the bankruptcy, did not return repeated phone calls and emails over the past week.

Under the bankruptcy plan, all of Carinalli's belongings are being sold or returned to lenders to partially repay $196 million in debts.

Last year, the court-appointed trustee overseeing the disposal of Carinalli's crumbled empire paid out nearly $9.7 million, according to court filings.

But just 41 percent of the total went to creditors, and nearly all of that appears to have gone to secured lenders, such as banks. Meanwhile, 29 percent went to various fees and expenses and 30 percent has gone to "all other disbursements."

Individual creditors, such as Sinai, who made loans to Carinalli backed only by his word, have had to keep waiting or accept just 10 cents for every dollar they were owed.


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