Bankruptcy trustee: Topeka police find five undocumented vehicles in Lindemuth building

By In Bankruptcy On November 27, 2017

Five vehicles recovered from a South Topeka storage facility — including two high-performance cars from 1967 and 1973 — “likely” are the property of Topeka businessman Kent Lindemuth, the bankruptcy trustee of Lindemuth’s estate has said in a court filing.

Lindemuth faces 117 criminal charges in two trials in U.S. District Court,the first of which starts on Wednesday, and is in a multimillion-dollar bankruptcy case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Lindemuth, 65, is charged with 107 counts of bankruptcy fraud; six counts of money laundering; one count each of perjury and receipt of ammunition; and two counts of receipt of firearms. Three of the counts will be tried in a second trial shortly after the first ends.

A total of 2,166 other firearms owned by Lindemuth, which are valued at $1.4 million, earlier were recovered from a south Topeka storage site. Lindemuth is charged with 103 counts of bankruptcy fraud in the purchase of 103 of the 2,166 guns, which weren’t disclosed as part of his bankruptcy estate, according to court records.

Bruce E. Strauss, the chapter 11 trustee of Lindemuth’s estate, has filed a motion for the turnover of the five vehicles: a yellow 1973 Plymouth Barracuda, a red 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, a silver Ford F150 Super Duty Cabela’s pickup truck, a black and orange 2008 Ford F250 Harley-Davidson pickup, and a red GMC 2500 pickup.

The five vehicles surfaced three months ago when Topeka police officers were called on Aug. 10 to investigate a break-in in South Topeka.

During that call, police noticed that another location also appeared to have been illegally entered, according to court records, and police contacted Lindemuth who is listed as the owner of the building, court records said.

Lindemuth met the police and granted them permission to enter the building, where the pickups and two cars were located.

“None of the vehicles are registered in the name of Kent Lindemuth nor are there license plates on the vehicles,” court records said. Each vehicle appears to have an “open title,” meaning the vehicles were previously sold by their owners, “but the transfer has never been documented with the titling authorities,” the court record said.

Strauss spoke to an Overland Park police officer, “who reports that he sold one of the vehicles six or more years ago for a significant sum of money,” the court record said.

Strauss contacted William Skepnek and Kevin Babbit, Lindemuth’s attorneys in his criminal case.

“The records available to the trustee do not reflect a tenant for the unit in which the vehicles were found,” court records said.

In an Aug. 14 email, Strauss asked the lawyers to contact Lindemuth, then provide Strauss with the name, address, phone number of the owner or owners of the vehicles and any information about insurance coverage on the vehicles. Strauss sought answer to the questions within 48 hours.

Strauss asked that if the lawyers couldn’t provide the information, they explain why not, warning them the vehicles shouldn’t be moved, court records said.

“Given that the vehicles appear to have no registered owner and were in the possession of Mr. Lindemuth and given Mr. Lindemuth’s counsels’ failure to respond to the trustee with the identity of the owners of the vehicles, the trustee believes it likely they are Mr. Lindemuth’s property either acquired prior to the confirmation of his (bankruptcy) plan and never disclosed to this (bankruptcy) court or creditors, or acquired subsequent to the confirmation of Mr. Lindemuth’s plan,” court records said.

Strauss wrote he thinks the vehicles “are likely the property of Kent Lindemuth’s bankruptcy estate,” court records said.

Strauss conferred with federal federal law authorities who investigated ownership of the vehicles “and concur with the trustee’s conclusion,” court records said.

“Given that the vehicles are movable, unregistered, untitled, and apparently uninsured, the trustee thinks it quite likely that they will go missing or be damaged should he not take immediate action to secure them,” Strauss wrote.

Strauss asked the bankruptcy judge to issue an order directing that the vehicles “be turned over to the trustee immediately,” Strauss wrote.

As of Saturday, an order to turn over the vehicles to the trustee hadn’t been issued, according to court records.

Contact reporter Steve Fry at (785) 295-1206 or @TCJCourtsNCrime on Twitter.