Business bankruptcy filings see slight uptick

Attorney Michael Fritz says his business is booming, because so many others are failing.  After a decline last year, the number of business filing for bankruptcy is on the increase.

There were 36 in the first quarter of 2011, 43 in the second quarter, a 16% increase.

"People who never thought they would file bankruptcy, who were on top of the world," said Fritz, a partner in the firm Fritz, Hughes & Hill, LLC.  "You see the emotional side of telling their spouse their business isn't as good as it was."

Fritz specializes in bankruptcies that are complicated.  Failed businesses are often his clients.   Lately, this list has included a lot of people involved in real estate and construction.

"From the construction company to the subcontractor to that construction worker, anything that has to do with construction or property development, they've come to see me," Fritz said.

The downturn in the economy hit those sectors especially hard.  Developments like Tuscany Hills in Lee County have seen dozens of vacant lots go into foreclosure.

"Some banks are not even foreclosing, they're coming after the principal and not foreclosing," Fritz said. "And bankruptcy creates that relief."

Fritz encourages business owners who feel they're having trouble meeting their obligations to consult an attorney to see whether bankruptcy is a viable option.  He said that should happen early in the process so that they can get back on their feet quicker.

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