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Thursday, June 13, 2024

TutoringZone owners cannot file for bankruptcy, judge says

After a yearslong court battle between former owners of TutoringZone and their investors, a judge ruled Thursday they could not file bankruptcy.

In her ruling, Karen Specie, the chief judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida, barred Matthew and Larina Hintze, the original owners of college-tutoring company TutoringZone, to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Codes.

The group of investors, who contributed to some of the $2.6 million originally used to fund the Hintzes’ company, decided to sue the couple to keep them from filing bankruptcy, months after the couple handed the company over to a UF business professor, according to Alligator archives.

Filing for bankruptcy would “discharge” them from from personal liability for most debts, according to bankruptcy codes. Corporations do not qualify for discharge under Chapter 7.

After reviewing evidence, thumbing through submitted files and listening to arguments from both parties, Specie said the defendants, the Hintzes, could not legally file bankruptcy because evidence showed the Hintzes were not transparent with investors when it came to the company’s status.

“They used (TutoringZone) for their own benefit,” she said.

The decision will not be final until the paperwork is submitted, she said.

As of press time, the Hintzes could not be reached for comment. Matt Hintze is currently listed as a tutor on TutoringZone’s website.

Robert Wilcox, who represented the investors, said Specie’s decision was the end of the bankruptcy battle for his clients.

“It was really more of a vindication of what they were arguing,” Wilcox said. “The Hintzes were guilty of misconduct.”

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