Additional Funds From Bankrupt Baptist Foundation Returned to Investors

Apr 08, 2003 02:55 PM EDT

PHOENIX, Ariz.—Investors in the collapsed Baptist Foundation of Arizona received thirty percent of their lost shares through a $217 million settlement with Arthur Anderson, a former auditor for the foundation.

According to Clifton Jessup, the liquidating trustee for the now bankrupt foundation says that the money recovered from Anderson, added to previous distributions, brings a the total recovery to approximately 45 percent of the investors’ holdings.

Through another previously announced settlement -- with the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention and six other entities – is awaiting court approval and will raise the recovery paid to the investors to approximately 50 percent, Jessup said.

The ASBC, itself an investor, relinquished its claim to more than $1.2 million held by the foundation. Through its insurance policy, the state convention's settlement also provided an additional $750,000 to investors.

Despite criticism, the state convention held no liability in the demise of the foundation and said it would have a strong case in court.

"As investors ourselves, we were as much a victim as anyone else," said Steve Bass, executive director. However, Bass said, "Ultimately, the overriding desire of the convention was to have the insurance money used to benefit investors."

In total, investors have received more than $275 million from the bankruptcy of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, according to Jessup; another $50 million will be coming to investors over the next two years from the sale of real estate. Additional funds for investors could come from foundation holdings yet to be sold.

However, said Jessup, the value of the additional properties are undetermined. "There are assets remaining to be sold that are not easily marketable and for which there is no way to know what the ultimate sales price will be.”

By Pauline J.