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The Bill Jester-developed Tuscany Court at 1343 E. Kingsley St. is now owned by Stillwater National Bank and Trust. Tenants say the foreclosure is not affecting their leases.
The Bill Jester-developed Tuscany Court at 1343 E. Kingsley St. is now owned by Stillwater National Bank and Trust. Tenants say the foreclosure is not affecting their leases.

Jester properties fall into foreclosure

Posted online
The Aug. 27 foreclosure of Town Center Plaza in Republic is the latest of properties developed by Springfield businessman Bill Jester to fall into bank hands since he died June 2.

According to attorney Steven Mustoe, who represented successor trustee Sure Property Management LLC, Town Center Plaza at 530 E. Harrison St., is now owned by Arvest Bank. While Mustoe said he didn’t know the balance of the loan, $4.65 million was borrowed against the property, according to the trustee’s sale notice published in the Aug. 25 Daily Events.

Following his death, Jester’s Resource Development Inc., is now an “inactive entity,” said Robert Jester, Bill Jester’s brother, a shareholder at Kansas City law firm Ensz & Jester PC and successor-trustee for RDI.

Tuscany Court
Another Jester development, Tuscany Court at 1343 E. Kingsley St., fell into foreclosure in June, and on July 15, Stillwater National Bank and Trust LLC took possession of the building.

The building counts University of Phoenix and Advanced Laser Clinics among its tenants, and RDI’s offices also were located there. Representatives of both tenants said they have no current plans to change locations.

“This won’t affect anything,” said Yalonda Pinnell, associate campus director at University of Phoenix. “It’s been a great location, it’s accessible by the highway and very convenient for students.”

Lathrop & Gage LLP attorney Dan Nelson, who handled the foreclosure on behalf of Stillwater Bank, said potential buyers have expressed interest in purchasing the property, but he was unsure what the next steps would be for the bank.

“The bank has acquired the property at the foreclosure sale and is in the process of determining how to dispose of it,” he said.

French Quarter Plaza
French Quarter Plaza LLC, 1602–1638 E. Republic Road, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection March 30, 2009, and the case continues to linger in court. In March 2010, court documents show Springfield accounting firm McCullough and Associates LLC was ordered to review French Quarter’s finances and file a report.

“Our firm was appointed by the court to look into the matter, and we did prepare a report. It’s not a typical situation necessarily, for any CPA firm,” said Sandra Ipock, certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner at McCullough.

The report summary issued in June noted that company officials deposited and withdrew funds from four bank accounts, and a variety of other companies also used those accounts.

“(Bill Jester) also owned quite a few other entities,” Ipock said. “If an individual owns various entities, it’s not uncommon for funds to be transferred into a variety of different bank accounts.”

The report called the company’s initial accounting system “inadequate” and said personnel were not following proper accounting procedures. The accountants found an “unusual pattern” of checks totaling $32,800 written to RDI’s Chief Operating Officer Jerald Hill between March 20, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2009.

“To our knowledge, there are no supporting invoices or documents to justify these amounts as legitimate business expenses or that William Jester approved of the expenditures,” the report said.

Ipock declined to comment further on the report’s findings, and attempts to reach Hill were unsuccessful. During a June telephone conversation, Bill Jester’s daughter, Cristen Jester, said Hill had not been employed at RDI since about February. She declined to discuss why he was no longer with the company.

Another bankruptcy, foreclosure
Court documents show Jester T&C LLC, the entity for Supercenter Plaza, is in the midst of a bankruptcy case, having filed for Chapter 11 Dec. 18, 2009. Five claims totaling $13.9 million have been filed in the case, with the largest creditor, U.S. Bank, claiming $13 million, according to court documents.

RDI’s plans for an out-of-state project, the $110 million, 129-acre mixed-use Oklahoma Plaza in Claremore, Okla., near Tulsa are also on the verge of disintegration. According to Joyce Madewell, executive vice president of marketing for Tulsa-based SpiritBank, the bank was planning to foreclose on the property with the intentions of selling it.[[In-content Ad]]

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