EAST ST. LOUIS – Bankruptcy trustee Carla Randolph and Deborah J. Peel, former wife of attorney Gary Peel, sealed their partnership at the U.S. courthouse May 1.
After a hearing before Bankruptcy Judge Gerald Fines of Danville, Randolph spotted Deborah J. Peel at the back of the room and headed straight towards her.
Randolph introduced herself to Deborah J. Peel and her son David Peel. Randolph told Deborah J. Peel she would work "on behalf of –"
She stopped, as if searching for a formal word to describe Deborah J. Peel's status in Gary Peel's bankruptcy petition.
After a pause Randolph skipped the formalities and said, "You!"
Randolph and regional trustee Nancy Gargula of Peoria had already made clear in court records that they would honor Deborah J. Peel's claims against her former husband.
Gary Peel and Deborah J. Peel divorced in 2003 in St. Clair County. They signed a settlement contract.
The contract required regular payments from Gary Peel to Deborah J. Peel, but in 2004 the payments stopped.
Deborah J. Peel asked St. Clair County family court to enforce the contract.
Gary Peel argued the contract was not valid because he did not understand it when he signed it.
Last July, with the dispute pending in divorce court, Gary Peel filed a bankruptcy petition.
In January, he allegedly threatened to show filthy 32-year-old photographs of Deborah J. Peel's younger sister to their parents if Deborah J. Peel did not stop trying to enforce the contract.
A federal grand jury indicted Gary Peel on charges of obstructing justice, bankruptcy fraud and possession of child pornography.
Gary Peel moved to withdraw his bankruptcy petition, but in April Randolph and Gargula objected.
Attorney Mark Skaggs wrote for Gargula that Randolph was liquidating assets that Gary Peel may have thought had no value to the estate.
"Debtor is not free to dismiss this case now that the Chapter 7 trustee has discovered these assets simply because Debtor does not want to now lose those assets," he wrote.
Gary Peel's motion to dismiss his petition came before Judge Fines May 1, but Gary Peel withdrew the motion.
Fines planned a May 5 hearing on an earlier motion of Gary Peel for discharge of his debts to Deborah J. Peel. Gargula opposes the motion.