South Georgia bankruptcies skyrocket - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia bankruptcies skyrocket

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Bankruptcy trustees say commercial foreclosures and business bankruptcies in South Georgia are starting to skyrocket.

As the economic crisis rolls on, personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures continue to increase as well.

South Georgia bankruptcy attorneys say they're really starting to see the lack of economic activity, and you'll notice it with more commercial buildings on the foreclosure block along with homes.

The public notice of buildings and homes in newspapers to be auctioned on the Dougherty County Courthouse steps the first Tuesday of the month continues to grow. "Six pages of foreclosure ads. Which is a lot, " said Bankruptcy trustee Walter Kelley.

One of those notices, the Trinity Metropolitan Baptist Church. The church on West Gordon Avenue and other commercial properties it owns are scheduled to be sold at auction after defaulting on a $590,000 loan.

Bankruptcy attorneys say clients they are seeing now will bring about a big rise in commercial defaults.

"Anything building related is in trouble. I'm seeing a lot of the building related, like building and supply places. The sub contractors, the carpet people don't have anything to do. The lighting people are down," Kelley said.

Bankruptcy attorneys say the Cooper Tire plant closing is starting to hit South Georgia businesses.

"The people who supplied Cooper are starting to see an effect trickling down into their business. So our local suppliers. The local merchants who provided that, it's rippling out into the community," said Bankruptcy attorney Tony Blakey. 

Walter says some businesses that face commercial foreclosure will move, but many will have to file bankruptcy. Many employees will lose their jobs, but Kelley says many of those employees will spark the economic recovery with their own entrepreneurship.

"It gives new opportunity for other people, and people learn from the mistakes of the old business. You start over and hopefully come out of it,"  Kelley said.

Kelley said it's not just South Georgia seeing this increase in commercial foreclosures, he says city's across the state are experiencing the same thing. He calls it the second wave of the economic meltdown.

With Cooper shutting down and new construction way down, Kelley says they expect Southwest Georgia businesses to struggle for at least another year, and then hopefully the economic recovery will then start to help people and businesses get back in the black.

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