BY KEN LITTLE
A chancery judge here appointed a Special Master this week to handle liquidation of the remaining assets of the Jewelers Market business in Greeneville.
Greeneville attorney Frank Santore Jr. was appointed Wednesday by Thomas R. Frierson II, Third Judicial District chancellor.
Jewelers Market, at 827 Tusculum Blvd., was owned and operated by David R. Parker, who died Feb. 3.
An auction was held in May to satisfy creditors of Parker's estate. About 230 bidders from 10 states participated in the May 19 auction.
About 425 items were unclaimed or were owned by the business.
After the auction, between $30,000 and $40,000 in assets remain, Santore said.
So do a number of creditors.
Santore's job is "to determine which claims are valid claims and for how much," he said.
Special Masters are officers of the court who serve in a quasi-judicial role.
LAWYERS SIGN OFF
Two lawyers, in addition to Santore, signed off on the order.
E. Grant Crum represents Parker's estate. A. Keith Livingston is the lawyer for Greeneville businessman and philanthropist Scott Niswonger, a major creditor of Jewelers Market.
Niswonger's company, SMN Investments, Inc., filed a civil lawsuit on Jan. 26, 2012, against Parker and Jeweler's Market seeking the return of hundreds of jewelry pieces consigned to the business for sale in 2008.
The jewelry owned by SMN Investments was part of a purchase agreement by Niswonger of the former Lancaster's Jewelers, located at 117 South Main St.
Niswonger purchased the store's inventory in 2007 with the intention of liquidating it, and purchased the building itself in 2008.
The SMN civil complaint states that an oral agreement with Parker resulted in a "substantial quantity of jewelry" being consigned to Parker for retail sale.
At the time of his apparently self-inflicted death, Parker still held SMN jewelry worth $471,762 at the retail price and $117,560 at "item cost," according to the lawsuit.
Several hundred Jewelers Market customers who left property with him to repair or to sell on consignment were able to recover the items when the store was re-opened for two days in March and April by the court-appointed receiver, the accounting firm of Blackburn, Childers and Steagall.
Many of the remaining items were auctioned off in May.
COURT ORDER DETAILS
According to the agreed court order, all claims that have previously been filed will be disallowed and will have to be refiled subject to time provisions included in the order.
Claimants will have 60 days from the date a notice is first published in The Greeneville Sun, to file their claims. Supporting documentation must be provided.
Any claims not refiled or filed during that period will be barred, the order states.
The newspaper advertisement will be published four consecutive weeks. It had not been published as of Friday.
"Once the claims are filed, I will give notice of a hearing or hearings before me to determine the validity of the claims," Santore said.
For more information, please call Santore at (423) 639-3511 or the clerk of court's office at (423) 798-1742.