Chanhassen businessman Paul Taunton is buying out Tom Petters' 50 percent stake in their jointly owned marketing company Business Impact Group (BIG) for $550,000.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregory Kishel in St. Paul approved the sale Tuesday, saying the proceeds will go to the Petters estate being managed by a court-appointed receiver to benefit victims of Petters' alleged fraud.
Chad Johnson, an attorney for Taunton, called Petters a silent partner and said Taunton would continue running BIG, which sells apparel and merchandise with logos on them. BIG fell on hard times after it lost $1.2 million in a warehouse fire and Edina-based Crown Bank froze its line of credit.
Taunton is on the official committee of unsecured creditors in the Petters bankruptcies and is owed about $6.5 million.
Kishel also approved rejecting an $18,000-a-month lease for a Petters Group Worldwide office Petters used in Florida during the winter, in exchange for letting the landlord keep a $40,000 deposit and buy the office furniture and phone system.
"It's nice stuff," said Jim Lodoen, the bankruptcy attorney for Petters and receiver Doug Kelley, who is managing the Petters companies.