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Continued: Pay up, Hecker's girlfriend is told

  • Article by: DEE DEPASS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 23, 2010 - 11:42 PM

º These luxuries are the kinds of items that Christi Rowan has to give up.

GIVING UP THE GOODS

• $60,000 fur coat

• $30,000 guard dog

• Chanel ring

• $15,000 Chanel watch

• $40,172 Hecker spent on a Land Rover

The bill for Denny Hecker's bankruptcy is coming due for his girlfriend, too.

Christi Rowan's $60,000 fur coat? Her $15,000 watch? A diamond ring? Even her $30,000 dog?

All of it must be surrendered to help pay Hecker's debts.

Rowan also must fork over $235,000 in cash and checks that Hecker allegedly gave her to deposit into bank accounts at TruStone Credit Union, Associated Bank and Wells Fargo, U.S. bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel ordered Tuesday.

All told, Rowan is being told to turn over cash, gifts and expenses totaling more than $425,000 to bankruptcy trustee Randy Seaver.

In an interview with the Star Tribune Tuesday, Rowan said, "Mr. Seaver is wrong. I am going to fight him." Rowan said she doesn't care about the gifts, but said she is entitled to them because they were given to her in December 2007, a full 18 months before Hecker filed for bankruptcy. She said Hecker gave her and her children a dog after their dog died. "We didn't know it was worth $30,000," she said.

She is also ordered to give back $11,000 Hecker spent on lodging and airplane expenses for travel to Aspen, Colo.; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Hawaii. The order to forfeit property and cash is technically a "default judgment" that leaves Rowan in a pickle. Kressel signed the order Tuesday after Rowan supposedly failed to respond to Seaver's Jan. 15 lawsuit. That suit accused her of helping Hecker hide his assets from the court. Seaver is currently liquidating Hecker's bankrupt estate. The former car dealer owes more than $767 million.

Seaver accused Rowan of scheming and lying to obtain an $86,000 Range Rover for Hecker, just two months before he filed for bankruptcy. In order to secure financing for that vehicle, Rowan lied and claimed she was an attorney making $189,000 a year, Seaver said.

Now he wants the $24,034 in down payments and monthly payments that Hecker paid so far on that vehicle. Seaver also wants the $40,172 Hecker paid to date for a Range Rover purchased for Rowan just before he filed for bankruptcy.

Disputing trustee's findings

Rowan said Seaver was wrong and did "not know what he was talking about." She insisted she made the down payment on the second car from a tax refund she received.

Rowan also disputed Seaver's contention that she never responded to his complaint last month. She said she called Seaver's attorney on Jan. 19 and left a message requesting help getting a pro bono attorney. She no longer had an attorney and so would be forced to represent herself, she said. Neither Seaver nor his attorney ever returned her phone call, she said.

Seaver's attorney, Matt Burton, filed a motion with the court outlining Rowan's voice mail message and situation to Kressel. The judge issued the default judgment anyway.

Rowan said Tuesday that her former attorney originally told her that he would file a formal response to the court. She later found out that no response was filed, she said. Under court rules, a defendant has 30 days to respond to a complaint.

"I don't have a dime to my name," and don't know how the legal system works, Rowan said. Now that the court case is officially ruled upon and closed, Rowan said friends will soon pitch in money so she can hire an attorney and ask the court to reconsider its ruling.

Other property sought

Tuesday's court documents note that Seaver wants all monies recovered for Hecker's estate. Despite bankruptcy, he noted that Hecker and Rowan lived an extravagant lifestyle.

In the year before Hecker's bankruptcy, Hecker funded "many shopping ventures for the defendant" including: $34,000 at Neiman Marcus; $10,680 at luxury Colorado chain Gorsuch; $2,300 at Gucci; and $4,343 at Belle Reve Boutique in Minneapolis.

It also said Hecker paid for $7,000 in cosmetic surgery for Rowan, an accusation she vehemently denied. Rowan said the trustee stumbled across an e-mail that Hecker left in his computer as a "gotcha" type joke for his then-estranged wife, Tamitha, to find. Rowan alleged that Tamitha Hecker was prying into Hecker's e-mails.

Regardless, the trustee isn't laughing.

Tuesday's order also gives Seaver the right to all the personal property within Hecker's Medina mansion, where the divorced Rowan has lived with her children since moving out of the Whitney Hotel last year.

Seaver also wants the $56,000 that Hecker paid the Whitney Hotel for Rowan's rent and deposit fees.

The financial blow rendered against Rowan comes a week after Kressel refused to relieve Hecker of $82 million worth of debt owed to Chrysler Financial, because of Hecker's repeated delays in turning over documents and e-mails. Two weeks ago, Hecker was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy and wire fraud charges relating to the $82 million Chrysler Financial loan. Hecker entered a plea of not guilty and insists he has done nothing wrong.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725

  • about this series

  • More than two years of coverage tells the story of Denny Hecker, 58, and his journey from well-known Minnesota auto magnate to convicted felon currently serving a 10-year federal sentence.

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