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Michael kratville omaha attorney bankruptcy

michael kratville omaha attorney bankruptcy

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Impressed with Spoto's deal-making ability, Hiner formed Retro Development in and made Spoto his frontman. Hiner designed duplex and apartment developments ranging in size from eight to 36 units.

Spoto sold the idea to investors. Gary Person, city manager in Sidney, Neb. In the early s, Sidney was starting to grow residentially and commercially - but had no apartment complexes.

The concept was solid, Person said. Retro's Sidney building - a unit complex constructed in - was something else. Before long, the high winds of western Nebraska stripped away siding and shingles.

With assurances those problems would be fixed, Sidney approved plans by Retro to build a second, unit complex in But the project slogged along for four years, with delays in financing and construction. Similar stories played out in other cities.

In Hastings, Retro built nine duplexes, but the management company "didn't keep it up well at all," said Randy Chick, director of the city's redevelopment authority. City officials said they dealt with Spoto 95 percent of the time.

Just a pretty slick guy. Projects, most of them in Nebraska and Kansas, had ground to a halt. Contractors were walking off the job. Hiner said he went to Spoto. A judge's ruling in a lawsuit eventually confirmed that.

Banks, including First National Bank of Omaha, either had to foreclose on or take over properties. Neither bank would comment on how much was recovered. Investors stood to lose the most. Tim Kenny, director of the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, which oversees the tax credit program, said he doubts the firms lost that much. Kenny said the silver lining of Retro's demise was that investors had to take over projects and provide affordable rents before anyone could earn tax credits.

Still, city leaders were left to save face. A decade later, Person said, the Retro fiasco still is invoked by Sidney residents. A few years after the debacle, a reputable Norfolk contractor proposed affordable housing near Retro's apartments. Two hundred people packed City Hall to protest. The City Council passed it by a single vote, Person said, and the project since has been a success. After several lawsuits were filed against him, he filed bankruptcy papers in He also leveled a series of allegations against Spoto.

Hiner said auditors found that Spoto had formed dozens of bank accounts and shuffled money across them. The year-old was indicted in federal court in February on two counts of bank fraud. Hiner and others say Spoto fled to Australia. A warrant is out for his arrest. Michael Kratville, an Omaha attorney who represented Spoto in civil actions after Retro's demise, said he never was certain who was to blame. Hiner had a duty to be informed of the company's business.

However, he said, he didn't benefit from any of the missing money. As proof, he points to his putrid financial state. Hiner docked it in Fort Myers, near a Coast Guard station, and lived in it year-round.

He also continued his trips to Cuba every few months. Prosecutors questioned whether the missions to Cuba became more about smuggling cigars than shipping supplies.

Hiner insists the trips to Cuba were aboveboard. Disconnected from Omaha's medical community, he says he took wheelchairs, crutches and boxes of surgical trays from Florida. He lacks details, saying he had a supplier "named Carl" in Miami and "a guy named George" in Tampa. Whatever he was carting there, authorities became more concerned with what he was bringing back. Over time, Hiner accumulated hundreds of boxes of what he says were authentic Cuban cigars, such as Cohibas.

By , he was peddling his wares via e-mails like this: "I am finally back from Cuba. Take 10 percent off. What a bargain," one wrote.

Another quipped that Hiner restocked his supply of "Fauxhibas. However, he said, he bought his from a supplier who got them from Havana cigar factory workers. Hiner said people alleged fraud because he sold his cigars for half of what dealers charged. Hiner said he has one unfortunate bit of proof of authenticity: His indictment.

He's one of the more active smugglers we've seen. Hiner said he doesn't care for cigars. More philosophical than suicidal These days, Hiner is taking a different sort of inventory. Authorities seized his boat - and he fears he won't get it back. Divorced twice and recently separated from a longtime girlfriend, he rarely talks to his two children.

He hasn't seen his four grandchildren in a year or more. He said he has no plans to return to Omaha. I don't have any marketable talents. My life has never been lower. But duRand said Hiner has become more philosophical than suicidal in recent weeks. Their weekly phone conversations lead duRand to believe that Hiner has another journey in mind. If Hiner can travel after his case is resolved - a trial is scheduled in September - duRand pictures him on an island. Not Cuba, but somewhere in the Caribbean, where duRand has seen men who have blown marriages and families go to drink and disappear.

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