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Rumors fly about sale of bankrupt Express Grain assets by UMB Bank

Friday, June 10, 2022, 6:06 pm News Flash Archive

Rumors began flying on late Tuesday, June 7, that UMB Bank had sold all or parts of the Express Grain assets that it won at the bankruptcy auction on February 25, 2022.

But so far, official confirmation has not been given.

UMB Bank, the single largest creditor of bankrupt Express Grain, was the high bidder at the auction, but it took over a month for UMB Bank and EG to get the order to sell finalized. On April 11, the court finally signed it. See our previous reporting here: Details of Express Grain bankruptcy auction finally revealed in final sales order by the court

However, the actual "closing" of the sale to UMB Bank has been delayed repeatedly at the request of the bank and Express Grain. The current closing date deadline is June 30, but the parties may extend that deadline by simply notifying the court. See the extension notice here: Joint Notice of Extension of Outside Closing Date

As of this afternoon, no property deeds have been filed either to transfer EG's assets from EG to UMB Bank, nor to transfer any assets from UMB Bank to any third party. However, the buyer and seller are not required to file their deeds immediately after they are executed and the sale is finally closed.

The Taxpayers Channel has heard from two people in a position to know that the sale by UMB Bank to some third party has taken place, but they would not go on the record.

But one intriguing potential buyer is Frank S. Brumfield of Chicago.

Mr. Brumfield, who got his start in trading commodities in Chicago, now runs FSB Companies. According to its website:

FSB Companies is a private investment firm located in Chicago that owns and manages a diverse portfolio of companies in four sectors: private equity, real estate, agriculture, and lending.

Mr. Brumfield and FSB Companies own, invest in, or help manage 15 companies in Mississippi. According to their website, Mr. Brumfield was raised on a farm in Mississippi.

They own a farm in Swiftown called "Rabbit Ridge," an 870 acre row crop operation that raises corn, cotton, and soybeans.

Mr. Brumfield has also been involved in the EG bankruptcy, in that he was a heavy bidder at the bankruptcy auction held February 25, 2022. We first reported Mr. Brumfield's interest in acquiring EG assets on February 24th. See our reporting here: Press excluded from Express Grain auction and sale hearing

Mr. Brumfield's bidding was described in the court's order (linked above) finalizing the sale. The court wrote:

Mr. Brumfield submitted a Qualified Bid for the Minter City and Sidon properties but at the Auction, he increased his bid from $6,000,000 to $14,950,000 for those two properties. Farmers Grain countered with a $15,000,000 bid.

Later in the auction, Mr. Brumfield increased his offer with a joint bid with Thoroughbred, a company which sought to purchase the oil mill in Greenwood:

A joint bid was then put forward by Mr. Brumfield, offering $16,250,000 for Sidon and Minter City, and Thoroughbred, offering $4,250,000.

UMB increased the UMB Credit Bid to $25,000,000. After UMB's last bid, Mr. Brumfield and Thoroughbred declined to bid further....

Perhaps most intriguing, on May 27, 2022, Mr. Brumfield incorporated a Mississippi company named Delta Grain Company, LLC.

According to his filing with the Secretary of State, this company's purpose is that of "Grain and Field Bean Merchant Wholesalers."

The filing uses an FSB Companies email address as a contact point, and gives the same Chicago address occupied by FSB Companies.

The Taxpayers Channel has contacted FSB Companies several times this week, but so far the company has not replied to our questions as to whether or not FSB is buying any or all of EG's assets from UMB Bank, or whether its new company, Delta Grain Company, will be conducting business at some other location in Mississippi.

So we will all have to await further information before we know to whom UMB Bank intends to sell the EG assets. It seems urgent to finalize the sale as quickly as possible, so that the new operators will have time to get the facilities up, licensed, and running in time for the fall harvest season.


To read all our coverage of the Express Grain bankruptcy case, see here: Index of Express Grain articles

 

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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