Tuesday, January 20, 2009

When It Comes to Bankruptcy, They Wrote The Book

"No lawyers, save money!"

That was a phrase that bugged many a Santa Barbara lawyer, including this one.

You no doubt recognize it as being the pennywise but oftentimes pound foolish slogan of We The People, a legal document service that was founded and eventually taken nationwide by Summerland residents Ira and Linda Distenfield.

In 2005, the Distenfields sold "We The People" and turned their attention to their PRstore franchises.

And recently, they have partnered with the Santa Barbara News-Press to produce on-line video content for News-Press TV under the name "805 Alive."

Friday, the Pacific Coast Business Times reported that the Distenfields have filed for bankruptcy.

The PRstore franchises are not believed to be affected by the bankruptcy filing.

In the Business Times article, Ira Distenfield is quoted as attributing the bankruptcy to the mounting legal costs they incurred in a dispute with Dollar Financial Group, the publicly traded company that they sold "We The People" to.

As far as I can tell, the News-Press (where owner Wendy McCaw appears to be following the motto "no reporters, save money") has not reported this story, nor has it appeared on News-Press TV.

And it doesn't look like the Distenfields followed their own advice of "no lawyers, save money."

One of their largest creditors, according to the Business Times, is the law firm of McCaw's consigliori, Barry Cappello, to whom they reportedly owe $130,000 in legal fees.

Whether the Distenfields are consulting We The People's Guide to Bankruptcy, a book that they wrote, as they wind their way through liquidation is unknown.