Former British business star Paul Kemsley got a thumbs-down last Friday from a New York bankruptcy judge who was asked to shield Kemsley’s U.S. assets while a court in London helps him deal with creditors.
Judge James M. Peck of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan denied a U.K. trustee’s request to shield Kemsley’s U.S. assets under Chapter 15 of the Bankruptcy Code, which would have protected Kemsley from creditor action in the U.S. pending a resolution of the U.K. proceedings.
An attorney for Mark Fry, the U.K. trustee who filed the U.S. Chapter 15 request, declined to comment on the decision. Kemsley’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
Kemsley, whom Peck called “a bankrupt who doesn’t live like one,” moved to the U.S. in 2009 after bad bets (literally, bets involving the online speculation operation Spreadex) on whether Lehman Brothers would recover from its tailspin.
His U.K. real-estate empire, Rock Investments, was swept under, and a London judge last year declared Kemsley bankrupt. The reversal of fortune cost him his role as scold on Britain’s version of “The Apprentice,” a reality TV show premised on successful business people whipping billionaire-wannabes into shape.
While his big debts and sparse assets were being sorted out in London, Kemsley had taken refuge in the U.S., where, according to Peck, he lived the lifestyle of a “sophisticated New Yorker with international connections.”