ATLANTA -- Former Gwinnett Commissioner and bribery suspect Kevin Kenerly cleared a financial hurdle Wednesday when a judge allowed the dismissal of his bankruptcy case, but he still faces losing the only asset he has left -- a lavish home in Chateau Elan.
Kenerly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Georgia in December, citing less than $50,000 in assets and $3.5 million in debt. Those debts included $1.6 million he owed on the 15,000 square-foot Braselton home, $700,000 for a property in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and roughly $67,000 on three vehicles.
In a hearing Wednesday morning, Atlanta attorney George Geeslin, who represents Kenerly in the bankruptcy matter, said his client now has no unsecured debt, or debts that would allow lenders to seize other assets.
The only asset Kenerly has left is the nine-bedroom mansion, which Geeslin categorized as "way underwater." Kenerly listed the property for sale at $2.8 million. It sits on the sixth hole of the Legends Championship Golf Course and includes a 40-foot pool, four-car garage and spacious home theatre.
After some delays, Kenerly's bank has agreed to discuss a home loan modification that could allow him relief, Geeslin said.
"If the loan modification works out, good," Geeslin told a judge. "If not, (Kenerly) will lose his house."
Attorney David Weidenbaum, representing the U.S. Trustee's Office, said no creditors opposed having Kenerly's bankruptcy case dismissed.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Barbara Ellis-Monro granted an order to dismiss Kenerly's case.
Kenerly made his career in the real estate business, which was ravaged by housing and financial crises in recent years. His safety net, Chapter 11 bankruptcy, involves a reorganization of a debtor's business affairs and assets.
After 16 years on the board, Kenerly resigned as Gwinnett's longest-serving commissioner in 2010, facing an indictment on a bribery charge. He's accused of accepting a $1 million bribe from a developer for working out a favorable deal for the county to purchase land for a park.
He also faces two misdemeanor counts of failure to disclose a financial interest in two zoning cases dealing with the same developer.
Outside the courtroom, Geeslin said that while Kenerly's legal woes are hardly resolved, "This chapter of it is done." Regarding his overall situation, Kenerly said he's moving forward "day to day." They declined further comment.
In Gwinnett, a motion hearing is scheduled for Sept. 14 in Kenerly's criminal case.