One of South Dakota's wealthiest men declares he is now insolvent

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A man thought to be one of the wealthiest in South Dakota says he is insolvent.

Tom Vucurevich, of Rapid City, heir to the late banking magnate and philanthropist John T. Vucurevich, has notified creditors including the city of Sioux Falls that he and his wife, Claudia, do not have the money to pay debts, the Argus Leader newspaper reported.

"Taking into account the liabilities and claims against Mr. and Mrs. Vucurevich, together with the assets that Mr. Dell and I have been able to identify and reasonably value, Mr. and Mrs. Vucurevich are insolvent," said the report compiled by Michael Dell, an accountant for Vucurevich, and independent economist Donald Frankenfeld.

Vucurevich referred questions to his attorney, Mark O'Leary, who said he doesn't publicly discuss matters related to his clients.

About 20 creditors have claims of more than $11 million. The claims were generated when Vucurevich struck deals with some of the former lenders and business partners of his son, Kent Vucurevich, who declared bankruptcy in 2011.

The city of Sioux Falls is suing to recoup $279,000 in utility costs from a housing development. Assistant City Attorney Diane Best declined comment.

Some creditors are hoping for a better resolution.

"Tom is a great man," said Jason Appel, executive vice president at Plains Commerce Bank, which has the largest claim, $4.7 million. "He and his family have done a lot for the state and Rapid City. He has said he is going to sort his way through this, and we believe him."

John T. Vucurevich built a banking empire in eight states. He died in 2005. A foundation in his name distributes about $5 million annually to charities, universities and nonprofits.

Published: Tue, Sep 01, 2015