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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

WILL PAY-OFF OF AN $85,000 MORTGAGE BY MARK NOSS SHORTLY BEFORE CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY FILING GET HIM IN HOT WATER WITH BANKRUPTCY TRUSTEE? Is There A “Clawback” In His Future?

On December 12, 2018, just 75 days before he filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition for his shell corporation (within the 90 day look-back period preceding the bankruptcy), Full Spectrum Management, LLC, Mark Noss registered the December 6, 2018 pay-off of the $85,000 mortgage held by Huntington Bank on a building he owns at 110 Michigan Avenue in downtown Grayling, Michigan.

The mortgage, initiated in 2002 with Citizens Bank, was modified in 2008, increasing the note to $85,788.14 and extending the maturity date. (Huntington Bank acquired FirstMerit Bank in 2016; FirstMerit acquired Citizens Bank in 2012.)

The official mortgage documents, obtained from the Crawford County Clerk/Register of Deeds Office, do not disclose the payoff amount made by Noss in 2018; the county's Chief Deputy Register of Deeds confirmed the payoff, but stated the county's public records do not include the dollar amount—suggesting instead I “call the bank”.

When debtors file for bankruptcy, certain payments made during a 90-day look back period preceding the filing are subject to demands that the payments be turned over to a bankruptcy trustee or returned to the debtor (the “bankrupt”). 

In many cases, if you repay a debt within three months before filing (longer if the debt was to a family member or close friend), the bankruptcy trustee can sue the creditor to get the money back (called a clawback suit).

These payments are referred to as “preferences.” 
 
The building (shown above) is home to Grayling Eye Care, a business Noss currently runs in Michigan's Crawford County, roughly 50 miles from his Traverse City optometry practice.

In 2017, Noss sold the practice (while retaining ownership of the building) to optometrist Dr. Kelly Drake, who attended the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University with Noss’ daughter, Dr. Rebekah Noss Lynch. According to the weekly newspaper, the Crawford Avalanche, Drake learned that the practice was on the market through their friendship. 

Drake subsequently left, with Noss resuming the practice in August 2018 under the Grayling Eye Care name; it had been previously called the Grayling Vision Center. 

In addition to the nearly $800,000 Noss/Full Spectrum Management, LLC owes Independent Bank, the February 19, 2019 Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition Noss filed revealed he owed $41,500 to Comstock Construction, $14,000 to Jay Zelenock Law Firm PLC, $52,827 to Rehmann Group and nearly $4,000 to Grand Rapids law firm Varnum LLP.

In a Trustee's Motion For Approval Of Compromise/ Settlement Agreement filed January 27, 2020 in the Full Spectrum Management, LLC bankruptcy case, Independent Bank revealed it would “pursue the collection” of all Accounts Receivable owed to the Debtor by Dr. Mark D. Noss, a/k/a Mark D. Noss, Mark D. Noss, O.D., L.L.C. d/b/a Full Spectrum Eyecare and MDN Development, LLC (or any other affiliated or related entity to the Debtor and/or their principals as permitted by law) and Grand Traverse Academy. 

Independent Bank shall pursue any fraudulent transfers and avoidable transfers as permitted by Dr. Mark D. Noss, a/k/a Mark D. Noss, Mark D. Noss, O.D., L.L.C. d/b/a Full Spectrum Eyecare and MDN Development, LLC, Dr. Steven Ingersoll and Smart Schools Management (or any other affiliated or related entity and/or principal or individual as permitted by law) for all avoidable transfers made by the Debtor to the respective parties from March 14, 2014 until the Petition Date of February 19, 2019.” 

Will there be bankruptcy clawback action filed in the Full Spectrum Management, LLC case, seeking to recover the money Noss paid to Huntington Bank?

Stay tuned; more on this as it develops.

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