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Chapter 11 bankruptcy sale solicits bids

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  • | 4:13 p.m. May 21, 2013
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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MULBERRY — After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, the properties and assets of East Coast Brokers and Packers are for sale via sealed bid offerings, says Murray Wise Associates, which is handling the sale.

Among the offerings are more than 10,000 acres of farm land, labor camps, properties and homes in Florida and Virginia, a news release says. That includes 7,000 acres of Florida farm and development land in Hillsborough, Manatee, Martin and Polk counties, as well as the Red Rose Hotel in Plant City, and luxury condominiums in Naples. See below for a complete list of offerings and the due dates for bids.

“After two years of freezes on its Florida farms, a hurricane on its Virginia farms in 2011, and years of challenges resulting from years of cheap imports, a Chapter 11 filing was needed to provide the Madonia family an opportunity to sell assets in an organized fashion,” says Ken Nofziger, president of Murray Wise Associates, in the release. “This process will provide enough liquidity to satisfy creditors and allow the Madonia family to reorganize and carry on its operations.”

Produce trade publication The Packer reported that East Coast Brokers and Packers stopped growing and shipping tomatoes in November. Founded in 1956, the company was one of the largest tomato growers-shippers in the state. In March, The Packer reported that the firm, owned by Batista Madonia Sr. and Evelyn Madonia, owed a variety of creditors more than $50 million in liens and judgments.

Nofziger says interested buyers can contact his firm ( to get more detailed information, and the properties have been divided into the groups below for bidding:

- More than 7,000 acres of Florida farm and development land in Martin, HIllsborough, Polk and Manatee counties; two packing houses; a former Bible college and several labor camps. Bids will be due by 5 p.m. June 20.

- Thirteen farms totaling approximately 3,000 acres; four packing houses; seven labor camps, and several homes in Accomack and Northampton counties in Virginia. Bids will be due by 5 p.m. June 20.

- The Red Rose Hotel in Plant City, along with luxury condominiums in Naples and Stuart, as well as other houses and properties not directly related to the tomato business. Bids will be due by 5 p.m. July 5.

- Commercial and residential buildings in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, including warehouse and cold storage facilities, industrial and residential lots, and several luxury homes. Bids will be due by 5 p.m. July 5.

Murray Wise Associates, based in Champaign, Ill., is working with Winter Haven-based Crosby and Associates on the sale.


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