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Development Specialists, Inc. Secures Successful Bid for Bankrupt Toyota Dealership, Lighthouse Imports

New Owner to Pay $18.7 Million

MIAMI, FL--(Marketwire - March 22, 2013) -  Joseph J. Luzinski, senior vice president of Development Specialists, Inc. (DSI) and Daniel J. Stermer, a consultant with the company, announced the court-approved sale of Toyota dealership Lighthouse Imports LLC, in St. Augustine, Fla.

DSI secured a stalking horse bid from Michael D. Beaver, owner of Beaver Toyota in Santa Fe, New Mexico. No other bids came close to the $18.7 million offer from Beaver, which includes $10 million of value for goodwill and other intangible assets such as customer lists, marketing materials, etc.

"The initial stalking horse bid was so good that no other parties exhibited interest in overbidding that offer," said Luzinski, who is the court appointed chief restructuring officer. Added Stermer: "This bidder hit the ball out of the park on the first swing in an effort to secure the purchase of the dealership."

Luzinski said he anticipates quickly preparing and filing a plan of reorganization that should provide a distribution to approved creditor claims. The purchase is expected to close in early April.

On Oct. 24, 2012 Lighthouse Imports filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company listed $9.38 million in assets and $10 million to $50 million in liabilities.

Lighthouse, which does business as St. Augustine Toyota/Scion, owns a six-car showroom in St. Johns County, Fla., selling new Toyota and Scion cars and pre-owned vehicles. The business has continued to operate and serve customers uninterrupted during the Chapter 11 process.

The debtor acquired the dealership in September 2007 for approximately $12 million and spent another $16 million on its sales and service center. In late 2009, the debtor was faced with several financial setbacks as a result of the recession. The problems were further exacerbated by the tsunami in Japan that interrupted the supply chain for Toyota dealers, according to court documents.

In 2011, the debtor entered into a management agreement with Werner TSA LLC. Werner infused $1.2 million into the dealership in anticipation of creating a joint ownership, but that plan was rejected by the lender and the bankruptcy court removed Werner as the management company. 

Joseph J. Luzinski has managed the Miami, Fla. office for more than two decades. During this time, he has been involved with a number of significant engagements both within and outside of formal reorganizations. He has considerable experience in restructuring businesses in numerous roles as Chapter 11 Trustee, Chapter 7 Trustee, Chief Restructuring Officer, Chief Financial Officer, President, Director, Financial Advisor, Interim Manager, Receiver, Assignee for the Benefit of Creditors, Plan Agent, Liquidating Agent and Plan Trustee.

Daniel J. Stermer joined DSI in 2009, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience in the private and public sector. He served as an assistant attorney general for the Florida Department of Legal Affairs in the Economic Crimes Litigation Unit. He also has served as special assistant to the United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York assigned to the Organized Crime Unit and as an assistant district attorney with the Bronx County District Attorney's Office. He currently serves as receiver for numerous high-profile companies.

Development Specialists, Inc. (DSI):
DSI is a leading provider of management consulting and financial advisory services, including turnaround consulting, fiduciary roles, financial restructure, litigation support, wind-down oversight and forensic accounting services. Clients include business owners, corporate boards of directors, financial services institutions, secured lenders, bondholders, unsecured creditors and creditor committees. For more than 30 years, DSI has been guided by a single objective: Maximizing value for all stakeholders. With its highly skilled and diverse team of professionals, offices throughout the United States and in Europe, and an unparalleled range of experience, DSI not only achieves that objective, but has also built a solid reputation as an industry leader. For more go to www.dsi.biz.

Court documents available upon request.

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