A Richmond restaurateur whose holdings include a dozen Hooters and Topeka’s Steakhouse locations has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (You can see the full filing here.)
Cornett Hospitality LLC, headquartered on Staples Mill Road, made its filing Wednesday, listing 287 creditors and liabilities of between $1 million and $10 million. It lists assets of the same range.
The company owns nine Hooters restaurants and three Topeka’s locations in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It previously owned two Max & Erma’s locations in Richmond but closed them after falling behind on rent and after the chain filed bankruptcy in 2010.
Its local Hooters stores include 7912 W. Broad St. in the West End, 1211 Huguenot Road in Midlothian and 2401 W. Hundred Road in Chester.
Its local Topeka’s locations are on Parham Road near Three Chopt Road and on Hull Street Road in Midlothian.
Reached by phone Wednesday, Phil Cornett, a director of the company, said its 12 restaurants remain open for business while the company goes through the Chapter 11 process.
He mentioned Max & Erma’s as a reason why the company filed for bankruptcy protection.
“It’s just wrapping up some of the old baggage from Max and Erma’s,” Cornett said. “It’s just a standard reorganization, just standard stuff.”
In early 2010, Cornett was locked out of its Max & Erma’s location at Reynolds Crossing after falling behind on the rent. Cornett at the time cited the chain’s bankruptcy as part of the problem. Cornett eventually closed the restaurant, which is now a Plaza Azteca.
Reynolds Development eventually filed suit against Cornett, seeking more than $100,000 in back rent and other fees.
Cornett also closed its other Max & Erma’s location on John Rolfe Parkway in October 2010. Phil Cornett had said then that the location was hamstrung by repeated delays to access roads that would have made the location busier.
Among Cornett Hospitality’s unsecured creditors listed in the initial Chapter 11 filing are Bank of Virginia and StellarOne Bank, both of which previously filed lawsuits against Cornett Hospitality for unpaid debt.
It owes $1.8 million to Bank of Virginia, according to the initial filing. The Midlothian-based bank filed suit against the company for that amount in March 2011. Cornett owes $210,000 to StellarOne, which filed suit against Cornett for $1.95 million in August 2011.
Its other debts include $396,000 to Hooters of America Inc.; $384,000 to the IRS; $87,000 in taxes to Henrico County; $381,000 in taxes to the state; and a claim for $3 million to Spirit Financial Acquisitions related to two of its Hooters stores in Pennsylvania.
Bruce Arkema, an attorney with DurretteCrump, is representing Cornett Hospitality in its Chapter 11 case.