No decision yet in LaPean appeal
By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — No decision has been made yet in an appeal filed by former Colfax resident Greg LaPean, the former owner of LaPean Implement.
LaPean originally was charged with four counts of transferring encumbered property with the intent to defraud.
Three separate cases were consolidated, and a Dunn County jury convicted LaPean in September of 2011 on one felony count of transferring another’s personal property with a value of not more than $100,000.
LaPean, who is now 56 years old, filed an appeal in October of 2012.
During a court hearing May 24, Dunn County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Maki noted that various appellate briefs had been filed and now it was a matter of waiting for a decision on the appeal.
LaPean’s attorney, Lester Pines of Madison, participated in the court hearing by telephone and said that he had no additional information for the court.
The Honorable William C. Stewart continued a restitution hearing pending a decision on the appeal and scheduled another status conference on the case for October 28.
Judge Stewart said he was hoping the appeal would be decided by the end of October.
In February of 2012, Judge Stewart sentenced LaPean to five years of probation, six months in jail and 250 hours of community service, and in April of 2012, stayed the jail sentence pending appeal.
Following the trial in September of 2011, the jury acquitted LaPean in one case and could not decide whether LaPean was guilty on two counts in another case, resulting in a hung jury.
According to a brief filed with the appeals court, the appeal is based on the argument that the jury did not receive any instructions on the terms of LaPean’s agreement with Security Bank out of New Auburn and, therefore, could not know whether LaPean’s actions were consistent with the agreement.
LaPean’s appeal also is based on the argument that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to prove that LaPean intended to defraud.
LaPean took over the family’s farm implement dealership in Menomonie in the late 1980s or early 1990s. LaPean’s parents started the dealership in 1956, and the business peaked in the late 1990s with annual sales of $10 million, according to the appeals brief.
In 2002, the business began to decline when there was a decrease in milk prices combined with drought conditions that reduced grain harvests. By 2008, LaPean could not keep up with his debt load and eventually went bankrupt, according to the brief.
In 2004, LaPean lost his dealership status with Case International and was working full-time as a police officer in Colfax and part-time with the Dunn County Sheriff’s Departments reserves, the brief states.
In February of 2005, LaPean applied for a $950,000 loan with Security Bank to consolidate debt, finance ongoing operations, maintain a parts inventory and to buy more equipment as inventory was sold. In June of 2005, and later in 2006, new, longer-term loans totaling nearly $1.9 million incorporated existing balances and provided operating capital with revolving credit, according to the appeals brief.
All of the debts were cross-collateralized, and instead of being secured by a specific property, security came from a pool of collateral that included all of LaPean’s business real estate, assets and inventory, his personal property and real estate, personal guarantees from LaPean and his wife, Amy, and parents Tom and Faye LaPean, LaPean’s life insurance policy and several large certificates of deposit pledged by LaPean’s parents. The inventory collateral was not fixed but revolved as parts and equipment were bought and sold, the brief states.
All together LaPean borrowed about $2.1 million from Security Bank. LaPean made payments of $680,000 from general revenues, and liquidation of collateral provided an additional $1.3 million, leaving $275,000 that was not paid, along with $500,000 in unpaid interest, according to the appeals brief.