Parking Management Inc. Chairman Dominic F. Antonelli Jr., who has been trying to renegotiate real estate loans with dozens of lenders, won a reprieve yesterday that allowed him to stay out of bankruptcy for at least another week.
Antonelli and his numerous partnerships have borrowings that approach $1 billion, according to sources familiar with his finances. That puts Antonelli in the same financial league as Washington real estate investor Conrad Cafritz, who has borrowings of about $1.1 billion and also is in the midst of tense negotiations with lenders.
Signet Bank, which won a court judgment against Antonelli earlier this year, yesterday signed an agreement to continue negotiating a repayment plan, according to lawyers for Antonelli and his bankers.
Antonelli's lawyer, Roger Frankel, had said Antonelli would seek bankruptcy protection yesterday if no agreement was reached to prevent Signet from locking in a preferred claim to some of his property, including his Potomac estate. The preferred claim would have made it more difficult for Antonelli to satisfy his other creditors.
Antonelli has borrowed $75 million to $90 million in so-called unsecured loans, for which he is personally liable, sources said.
He and his partnerships have additional loans of $800 million to $900 million that are secured by specific real estate holdings. Antonelli has guaranteed much of that debt too.
Collectively, Antonelli's hotels, office buildings, land and other real estate are worth less than the debt they carry.
Antonelli's personal guarantees make him liable for $50 million to $70 million more than the estimated value of the real estate that serves as collateral for the loans, sources said.
Most of Antonelli's problems stem from loans he guaranteed in partnership with other developers, such as Huntmar Associates Ltd., a Northern Virginia real estate company Antonelli helped launch in 1986.
Huntmar President Hal Boles said yesterday that Huntmar is "in a winding down phase."
In other signs of progress for Antonelli, Citicorp Real Estate Inc. yesterday called off a foreclosure sale of a downtown property that had been scheduled for next week.
Meanwhile, lenders responsible for more than 75 percent of Antonelli's loans joined an interim agreement to work with him while he develops a plan to sell his real estate and pay his debts over a period of years.
Under the agreement, Antonelli granted the participating lenders liens against almost all his property.
"I think we're beginning to gain momentum that an out-of-court workout is possible here," said Frankel, a lawyer at Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn.
Lawyer Richard P. Schifter of the firm Arnold & Porter, who represents a committee of Antonelli's creditors, said lenders believe they could recoup more money by solving their problems with Antonelli outside of bankruptcy court.
Lenders favor an out-of-court solution because the bankruptcy process would exact its own legal and administrative costs, limit their flexibility and leave them in a weaker bargaining position as they seek buyers for the real estate, Schifter said.
Antonelli faces another deadline late next week, when Citizens Bank of Maryland will lock in a preferred claim to some of Antonelli's real estate if he has not reached an agreement with the bank or declared bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, several major creditors, including Riggs Bank, First American, and Chase Manhattan, have not signed agreements with Antonelli.
Federal regulators, who took over the failed National Bank of Washington, another lender to Antonelli, also have not signed an agreement.
"We're still realistic and we've got a long way to go," Frankel said.
"Eventually, all the major banks are going to sign up for the workout out of court, or we're going to be in a bankruptcy proceeding."