MONTESANO — One of the original owners of Briggs Nursery is trying to collect on part of the $12 million the court-appointed receiver ended up getting for the foreclosed nursery outside of Elma.
Superior Court Judge David Edwards cleared the way for the sale to close back in July following a foreclosure lawsuit started by Bank of the West of California. With a bid of $12,055,555, Sidhu Nursery of Canada purchased the company, its trademarks and the 400-acre site on South Bank Road, southeast of Elma.
On Monday, Edwards officially awarded $10.4 million to Bank of the West out of those sale proceeds. An attorney for the receiver says that leaves about $2 million in cash on hand left to distribute to other secured and unsecured creditors. Banks and those with loans are the only secured creditors. Others, such as bills to cover back utility funds, are unsecure.
However, Gary Briggs through attorney Matthew Edwards of Olympia, objected to the disbursement because he says Briggs is owed nearly $1 million and the receiver wasn’t treating him fairly. He noted that Briggs had already filed as a secured creditor.
“We’re talking about millions of dollars here,” the attorney told Judge Edwards. “This is completely wrong, completely wrong at every point. This doesn’t treat all secured creditors equally.”
Briggs is the president of BPF, Inc. and sold the nursery and received a promissory note in 2008 valued at $1.2 million. Briggs says in a signed declaration that he is still owed $988,108, plus attorney fees.
Complicating the situation is Thurston First Bank of Olympia, which says that Briggs signed over the promissory note to the bank as collateral for a loan, which after penalties and interest, adds up to about $300,000. The bank wants what it is owed first.
Judge Edwards says there’s plenty of time to let the parties fight over the extra money at the end, but that Bank of the West had been a patient creditor and deserved to be paid.
Briggs Nursery is a commercial operation that sold plant starts to other nurseries around the world.