LAKEWOOD RANCH Embattled area home builder Paradise Homes has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
Two companies controlled by Paradise President James Butler were included in the filing, both trying to fend off a list of 233 creditors owed as much as $10 million, according to the federal bankruptcy court in Tampa.
The filing leaves mounting questions over what will happen to about 30 homes that have already been sold by Paradise, but now sit unfinished including 18 where construction has yet to even begin.
Neither Butler not his attorney Scott Stichter could be reached for comment. Judge K. Rodney May has been assigned to the case.
Extreme Remodelers of Sarasota LLC and Paradise Lifestyle Center LLC, which both do business under Paradise Homes of Sarasota, listed assets of between $1 and $10 million in assets.
The filing estimates that once the administrative expenses are paid, there will be no funds available for distribution to unsecured creditors.
More than 230 companies have petioned Paradise for unpaid claims including 1st Manatee Bank, Manatee County, the Manatee County Tax Collector, the City of Ssarasota, Bright House Networks, Florida Power and Light, the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and Turner Tree and Landscape.
The Chapter 7 filing aims to liquidate any remaing assets and forgive part or all of those debts. Unlike Chapter 11, it does not allow the company to restructure.
A meeting of creditors has been scheduled for 3 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Timberlake Annex adjacent to the federal courthouse in downtown Tampa.
Paradise is one of more than a dozen homebuilders approved for work in Lakewood Ranch.
Josh Salman, Herald business writer, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @JoshSalman