10/21/09 – TG: Courts: Officials give Alamo follower, Thomas Scarcello, a second look ***COMMENTS***

Texarkana Gazette
October 21, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Courts: Officials give Alamo follower a second look

High-ranking member may have failed to report assets while filing for bankruptcy

The bankruptcy case of a high-ranking member of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries has been reopened because court officials believe he may have assets he failed to report.

Thomas “Tommy” Scarcello filed for Chapter 7 relief in the Eastern District of Oklahoma federal bankruptcy court Sept. 9, 2008. In December 2008, the case was closed and Scarcello’s debts were discharged, documents show.

An adult daughter of Scarcello’s testified during Alamo’s criminal trial that her father became an Alamo devotee during the early 1970s. Scarcello attended portions of the trial and remains an Alamo loyalist.

Last week, a bankruptcy judge granted a request from the trustee overseeing Scarcello’s case to reopen the matter “for the purpose of investigating possible assets and to allow administration of any potential assets in the estate,” the Oct. 14 order signed by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Tom Cornish said.

“I really don’t know what’s going on but I expect to hear in either a letter or an e-mail of notice for a trustee’s deposition,” said Fort Smith, Ark., attorney Darrell Johnson, who is representing Scarcello in the bankruptcy case. “I tried to call Mr. Scarcello this morning but he was out of pocket … I don’t know if he’s going to keep me or hire a criminal lawyer or what.”

Johnson said he’s not aware of Scarcello being charged criminally.

“We’re investigating some of the debtor’s financial affairs,” said Gerald Miller, the trustee assigned to Scarcello’s bankruptcy. “We’re re-examining some of the information on the bankruptcy schedule because we have received information that something may not have been accurately stated.”

Miller said that whenever information such as that which has led to the reopening of Scarcello’s bankruptcy is brought to the court’s attention, trustees carefully review a debtor’s case to determine if there were misrepresentations or wrongdoing.

If a trustee finds a debtor may be guilty of a substantial misstatement or of committing fraud upon the bankruptcy court, a criminal referral can be made and previously unknown assets can be used to satisfy outstanding debt, Miller said.

“We’re not making any allegation that either would be the final outcome in this case,” Miller said. “We’ve just reopened the case and the investigation is in the preliminary stage.”

Bankruptcy filings caused an interruption in a civil lawsuit filed by mattress giant Tempurpedic in February 2007. The suit accuses Scarcello, Action Distributors, Jon Fitzgerald, Waste to Charity, Broco Supply Inc., Howard Hirsch, Nelson Silva and Close Out Surplus and Savings Inc. of converting the mattresses from their intended purpose for financial gain.

Tempurpedic made a deal with Waste to Charity’s principal, Jon “Jack” Fitzgerald, to pick up and distribute millions of dollars worth of mattresses, pillows and slippers to victims of Hurricane Katrina, the complaint alleged. But instead of being given free to storm refugees, the goods were being sold on the Internet and from the backs of trucks.

Action Distributors loaded up trucks with Tempurpedic mattresses in cooperation with Scarcello and took many of them to a warehouse in Booneville, Ark., the complaint alleged. According to testimony in Alamo’s criminal case, Action Distributors is a trucking company owned by Alamo loyalists that operates for the benefit of Alamo and his ministry.

According to the Tempurpedic complaint, Fitzgerald and Scarcello had a 15-year history of doing business together.

The complaint said ownership of the Booneville warehouse was traced to two women who are alleged wives of Tony Alamo—Sharon Kroopf Alamo and Elizabeth Mercado.

The mattress case has been on hold since Scarcello, Fitzgerald and Waste to Charity filed for bankruptcy. Once the bankruptcies are resolved, U.S. District Judge Robert T. Dawson of the Fort Smith division of the Western District of Arkansas will make decisions on how the case filed by Tempurpedic will proceed.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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One Post

  1. Dyann Says:

    Gotta love that Lynn LaRowe.
    The most authoritative expert, so far on this entire, entangled, legal mess.

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