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Death of Owner and Decline in Housing Market Ruined Moving Business

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Sarasota, FLIn 2007, Davi and Valenti Movers saw their demise. Part of the reason is due to the death of the owner Leonard Valenti, who died in 2005 due to cancer, and issues in the housing market that resulted in fewer people moving, so there was no need for the company's moving services.

After Valenti died, his brothers, Nicholas and David Valenti, took control of the company. Three company employees have said that the brothers resorted to excessive spending, very little advertising that later resulted in a decline in orders, and there was a bitter lawsuit that was filed against them.

Moving BoxesReid Krauss, who took over as president of operations after Valenti's death, says that Leonard was a strong arm that made sure everything was taken care of.

In October 2007, Valenti's widow, Maureen Valenti, had to file a complaint with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Her claims stated that after her husband's death, his brothers used the finances of the company as their own by taking large amounts of cash whenever they wanted. Nicholas Valenti has denied that he spent the money on two luxury cars and three houses after his brother had died. He denies that he had anything to do with the downfall of the company. He has said that it is due to problems in the economy that the company could no longer operate. David Valenti has said the same thing as Nicholas in regards to the allegations that they carelessly spent money while running the company.

Both Nicholas and David founded the company in 1979 with their brother. Nicholas Valenti actually owned more of the company than his brothers and was also president of the company. Employees, however, have said that it was Leonard that ran the company in his vice president position.

The company had averaged an income of around $3 million a year in the business of helping individuals move their household goods all around the state of Florida. But they also delivered other such items such as appliances and cabinetry for Home Depot and DeSears. The company operated a fleet of around 20 trucks and their warehouse was approximately 30,000 square feet.

In the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, it shows that the company brought in around $4.8 million in 2005. After that, it did not take long before the business began going down hill. It is also the year that Leonard Valenti had died. The brothers had agreed that the other two would buy out one brother's shares if he passed. They had approximately $400,000 in life insurance policies set up for that very reason. However, Maureen Valenti says that she never saw the money. Instead, she alleges that they asked her to hand over $100,000 that she had received in another life insurance policy. She said she did this because she was hoping the brothers would continue to pay her the $100,000 salary that her husband received yearly and cover her cellular phone bills. But she says they never paid.

In September 2007, the Valenti brothers filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The filing says that their liabilities are $3.8 million and they only have assets of $3.8 million. The bankruptcy documents show that the brothers borrowed against machinery and other assets in the amount of around $2.16 million.

Nevertheless, Stevens Worldwide feels that the Davi & Valenti name is worth acquiring and is working out a deal to purchase the company.

By Ginger Gillenwater


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