Ten Cents on the Dollar: Or
the Bankruptcy Game
By Sidney Rutberg
1999/01 - Beard Books
189312231X - Paperback - Reprint - 189 pp.
Written by the financial editor and columnist who covered the bankruptcy courts for Fairchild Publications, this book exposes the behind-the-scene story of bankruptcies and the people who profit from them.
An exploration of the sometimes quirky world of bankruptcy, with an insightful analysis of the individuals and companies that become bankrupt and a revealing perspective of the people who make their living from them, including auctioneers, lawyers, accountants, and collection men. This book takes you behind the scenes to where the deals are made, showing the gimmicks used and the fees collected. Find out the danger signals that give advance notice of a bankruptcy in the making, and learn how to cut through public relations semantics to determine whether a company really is in distress.
From the back cover blurb:
This book takes you behind the scenes to where the deals are made, showing the gimmicks used and the fees collected. Find out the danger signals that give advance notice of a bankruptcy in the making, and learn how to cut through public relations semantics to determine whether a company really is in distress.
From Turnarounds and Workouts, December 2007:
Reporting on bankruptcy courts for more than 30 years for Fairchild Publications and also as a business columnist and editor for Women’s Wear Daily and Daily News Record, Rutberg came away with a jaundiced view of bankruptcies. Perhaps because he was a journalist covering events in a fast-paced, urban environment, Rutberg writes in an informal, breezy style. Ten Cents on the Dollar reads like a gossip column with its witty and colorful observations. Rutberg recounts situations and incidents in rapid-fire succession, offering tidbits of information with no logical, chronological, or narrative connection.
Rutberg’s stories are, however, grouped into general headings relating to various aspects of bankruptcy. Among these are liquidation auctions; creditors; legal procedures; Chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcies; and key players in bankruptcies, such as accountants and lawyers. Rutberg’s irrepressibly casual, often inventive, style extends to the names of the chapters. The first chapter on auctions is titled “A Kipper Is Not a Herring.” Another chapter is entitled “Ten Cents on the Dollar, Or Reading Between the Lies.” “Even Millionaires Go Broke” is the title of a third.
Rutberg’s casual style belies the fact that he has an unerring, seasoned eye for what bankruptcy, the bankruptcy system, and the individuals – from debtors to judges – are like. Ten Cents on the Dollar, first published in 1973, offers a balanced perspective based on firsthand knowledge. The informal style does not undermine the basic points Rutberg makes about bankruptcy; for example: “Professionals who play the bankruptcy game [like professionals in other fields]...lie a little, they cheat a little, they steal a little, but mostly they work hard.” Elsewhere, Rutberg writes that, while “[a]ttorneys in the bankruptcy field are looked upon by some...[as being] rungs below the ambulance-chasing negligence lawyer..., the bankruptcy lawyer is a specialist in a rough-and-tumble business, and, by and large, he’ll perform as well as the attorneys in any other specialized field.”
While Rutberg does not pull punches, he avoids passing judgment on the bankruptcy field and its participants. If this book had been no more than a screed, it would have been of little use to readers who wanted to learn something about bankruptcy. Rutberg, for instance, is not calling for reform. There are enough other books doing this.
Individuals on both sides of the bankruptcy issue will
be amused by Rutberg’s informal writing style, stream of vignettes, and
jaundiced point of view. For those foreseeing or initiating bankruptcy,
it is an informative guide not only to various options and
Besides being a columnist and journalist concentrating on financial affairs, Sidney Rutberg is a contributing editor to the magazine The Secured Lender, published by the Commercial Finance Association.
SIDNEY RUTBERG is a contributing editor to The Secured Lender, a magazine published by the Commercial Finance Association. He was Financial editor and columnist for 31 years at Women's Wear Daily and Daily News Record, and covered the bankruptcy courts for Fairchild Publications for ten years.
Other books by Sidney Rutberg: