The Triad America tale, which began on a burst of promises and construction here 20 years ago, has ended with the final disbursement of $152 million to hundreds of creditors.
Triad America Trustee R. Todd Neilson has concluded what he called his seven-year "all-out, no-holds-barred, legal fistfight" over the hidden millions in the vast empire. In a 15-page final report to all creditors, Neilson detailed the company's downfall and the scramble for the assets."This is something I wanted to give to creditors so they would have something in their hands that told them why this estate went bankrupt and what we did with the stewardship we had over their resources," Neilson said.
Neilson cites two causes for the collapse of the international empire: the Khashoggis' impatience with their real estate projects' slow growth and their decision to invest in the energy market.
The report is a quiet closure on an explosive story of greed, grandiose construction and gullibility that captured headlines here year after year and forever changed the city.
Adnan Khashoggi gave Salt Lake City the Triad Center, a western anchor to the downtown skyline that is, at last, a profitable venture. His visionary Salt Lake International Center, once expected to span 900 acres, drew businesses farther west, enveloping a long-isolated airport.
That project, too, is now profitable.
Khashoggi's management of the Salt Lake projects underscores the cause of Triad America's bankruptcy. If Khashoggi had allowed the Triad Center and the Salt Lake International Center to mature before demanding that they be profitable, he, instead of his creditors, now would be enjoying the profits, Neilson said.
Khashoggi made the same mistake in other states. He gave up a prime strip behind the Galleria in Houston for only $5 million because he was too impatient, Neilson said. "It was a beautiful piece of land" that would be worth much more than that now, he said.
Neilson and his team of lawyers and accountants mined $151.8 million from a convoluted empire that reported only $12,000 in assets the day Neilson was appointed trustee.
Most of the money was property that was returned to secured creditors, Neilson said. Of the $152 million, about $34 million was divided among 104 unsecured creditors. Those creditors received about 56 percent of what they were owed.
Neilson and his team of accountants and attorneys received $12 million from the estate, according to Neilson's report. Of that, Van Cott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy received $3.8 million; the California law firm Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl & Young received $1.9 million, Neilson's accounting firm received $1.4 million and Neilson personally was paid $1.2 million.
And Khashoggi? "As far as I know, he's doing what he's always been doing: selling, negotiating, doing deals," Neilson said.
He's just not doing it in Utah.