The ongoing Gulf of Mexico oil exploration slump is still claiming economic victims, including the father of state Rep. Blake Miguez.
Steven Miguez, Blake’s father, made two Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in current months, hoping to shield assets of Iberia Marine Services from foreclosure proceedings, according to court documents.
The two filings involve Mr. Steven LLC and Lady Eve LLC, the companies which operate two of the crew boats managed through Seatran Marine LLC, which Blake Miguez manages.
The crew boats were two of the eight crew boats put up as collateral for a $22.5 million loan Steven Miguez took out through First NBC Bank of New Orleans in 2015. Iberia Marine Services used that money to build the Mr. Steven.
Federal regulators closed the bank in April, 2017. In October 2017, another company, SBN V FNBC LLC, bought the loan for about a quarter of its value from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which was the receiver for the bank’s assets. Now that company is threatening to foreclose on the Mr. Steven and Lady Eve in an attempt to recoup the debt.
According to the court records, no payments have been made on the original loan since July 2017. SBN attached a copy of its draft foreclosure to its filing, but a search of California court records does not show the action has been filed.
Blake Miguez said his father’s bankruptcy filings, under Chapter 11, are an attempt to keep the boats working and the crewmen employed.
“Many businesses in the Acadiana area have gone through this in recent years,” Blake Miguez said Tuesday. “The struggle is no different for my family. My father worked for 40 years to build up what we have. Chapter 11 is simply a restructuring to keep people working.”
The Mr. Steven is leased to another marine company, Guice Offshore. Guice has a contract with Elon Musk’s Space-X program to use the former crew boat as a support vessel for its rocket recovery operations.
According to a copy of the contract which ended last month, Guice paid $3,300 a day for use of the 205-foot boat, which is now outfitted with a huge net to catch the booster stage of its rockets. SBN, the current holder of the loan, is attempting to recover any proceeds from that lease that went to Seatran Marine.
“We are reorganizing to work this out,” Blake Miguez said. “That is what bankruptcy courts are for.”
Miguez also said the financial moves are being exaggerated because of his position in the legislature.
“I am not named in any of the suits,” Miguez said. “This is all being blown out of proportion.”
Although he is not specifically named, he is listed on the Louisiana Secretary of State records as an agents for the two vessels targeted for foreclosure, as well as an officer with Seatran.
“There’s been a lot of accusations made,” Blake Miguez said. “I’ll just leave you with this — tough times never last. Tough people do, and we in Louisiana are very tough people.”