HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - In late January, members of the FBI, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the IRS raided businesses related to pharmacies around Mississippi and three other states and seized millions in assets.
Roughly six months later, Regions bank has filed a suit against Pine Belt businessman, Wade Walters, his wife, Dorothy, Performance Aviation, Wade Walters Consulting, Prime Care Revenue Management and Prime Care Management Group.
The reason they filed suit is because they want to take possession of the two airplanes the government seized back in January. Regions said they loaned Walters over $5 million to purchase the planes.
The motion specifies two loans that Performance Aviation, an LLC created by Walters in 202, obtained to finance the purchase of two airplanes, including a Hawker Beechcraft Corp. 900XP and a Raytheon Aircraft Co. C90A which were seized on Jan. 20, 2016.
"They (Hawker) are mainly your business jet, they haul eight, nine, 15 folks, they are made to take a bunch of folks across country, some across the big pond, the ocean, with just one stop for fuel, so that's more of your luxury plane," Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport Executive Director Tom Heanue said. "The cirrus is more of a sport plane, so it's got a lot of power, but it doesn't carry a lot, so it's kind of more your fun, like a Ferrari, is what it's like."
According to court documents, as of July 20, 2016, the outstanding principal, accrued interest and fees owed on the notes totaled $5,683,697.50, exclusive of costs of collection and attorneys' fees."
"You start getting up into that world of general aviation where your businesses is using an aircraft, they are quite expensive," Heanue said.
The planes were shipped to locations in Houston, Texas and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after being seized where they are being held.
"Regions seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, enjoining defendants from liquidating, disposing, destroying, using, selling, transferring and/or transporting the aircraft from their current respective locations, once the U.S. relinquishes the aircraft back to Performance, without leave of the court," Regions counsel William C. Brabec said.
Heanue said, "Operating cost for aircraft like that, starts to run in the thousands of dollars an hour so you count up your fuel, your pilot, your insurance, the cost of the aircraft and somewhere around $4,000 an hour to operate those aircraft."
Regions claimed that because of the defendants' default, Regions is entitled to immediate possession of the aircraft.
"When you start dealing with these type of larger corporate aircraft and some of these sport aircraft, you are talking about in the millions, you're not talking about two or three, you are talking about 12, 13, 14 sometimes $30 million, so your business has to make it or you have to have a lot of money to have one of those," Heanue said.
The motion for a temporary restraining order was denied, but the court placed the preliminary injunction motion on hold, pending a hearing.
"This is a breach of contract case. Defendant Performance Aviation, LLC obtained loans to purchase two aircraft. Each aircraft is collateral for its respective loan," U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett said in his court order.
No date or new court filings showed the outcome of the preliminary injunction motion.