Creditor forecloses Willie Nelson truck stop

Jill Dunn | January 27, 2011

A bankruptcy court is permitting Willie Nelson’s Truck Stop’s financial backer to foreclose on the Texas location after it filed Chapter 11.

On Jan. 11, Judge Harlin Hale of U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Northern District of Texas lifted the automatic stay on the truck stop, doing business as Willie’s Place. The stay stops foreclosures and collection activity when the debtor petitions for bankruptcy.

The Carl’s Corner convenience store and truck stop opened Willie Nelson’s Truck Stop in late 2008, south of Dallas off of U.S. 35. Carl Cornelius is president and Nelson is an equity holder, court documents stated.

New Jersey-based SBL Capital Funding financed completion of the truck stop in February 2008. SBL, a private direct or hard money lender, specializes in short-term real estate bridge loans to high-risk borrowers.

The loan’s principal amount is nearly $5 million and SBL received a deed of trust and security agreement on Willie’s Place, extended to mature February 2010.

Last May, the business filed Chapter 11, allowing reorganization and payment of creditors over time and then paid $200,000 to SBL. It still owed SBL, not including fees and expenses, nearly $6.5 million in December. That debt excludes legal fees, expenses and per diem interest of $2,750, which continues to accrue.

The bankruptcy court will allow SBL to take over Willie’s Place Feb. 1, according to a Jan. 25 story produced by Waco’s KWTX television station.

The truck stop employs nearly 80 people but has never been profitable. It borrowed $35,000 from Nelson to make its September adequate protection payment. The court rejected its reorganization plan this month.

On Jan. 3, Nevada-based Incoming Inc. appointed Cornelius to its board, according to the firm’s Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Incoming describes itself as a brand acceleration firm based in Nevada. In August, it (Incoming) acquired North American Bio-Energies, a North Carolina biodiesel production facility.

Cornelius founded the town of Carl’s Corner in the late 1980s to house Carl’s Corner Truck Stop. He has been the town’s mayor and municipal judge and in 2004, co-founded Willie Nelson Biodiesel Co. with long-time friend Nelson, producing and distributing BioWillie fuel, Incoming said.

In 2005, they opened the concert theater Willie’s Place at the truck stop, located 15 miles from the singer’s Abbot, Texas, birthplace. David Allen Coe performed in a Dec. 28 show with Nelson and family and earlier shows included Leon Russell, Ray Price and Asleep at the Wheel.

Texas-based Earth Biofuels had distributed BioWillie, but in 2008, Nelson obtained an injunction barring Earth from using the names BioWillie or Willie Nelson in any manner, according to a 2008 SEC filing.

While OverdriveOnline.com strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions, it does not welcome comments reflecting racism, vulgarity or spam. Violations of this policy can be grounds for removal of a comment or banning a user from the comments system.