Supplements Maker Eniva Files for Chapter 11

The Anoka-based company said that it "was the victim of predatory lending practices and unscrupulous business behavior of a north metro real estate group," which prompted the bankruptcy filing.

Eniva USA, Inc., an Anoka-based supplements manufacturer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. District Court in Minnesota on Tuesday.

The company indicated in its bankruptcy filing that it has between $10 million and $50 million in assets and that its liabilities fall within that same range. Creditors, meanwhile, number between 200 and 999.

In a statement e-mailed late Wednesday, Eniva told Twin Cities Business that it “was the victim of predatory lending practices and unscrupulous business behavior of a north metro real estate group,” which prompted the bankruptcy filing.According to the company, that real estate group, which it declined to name, “wooed” it into its current location-the former Cornelius Company headquarters at 1055 West Main Street in Anoka-in 2006. Eniva said that it told the real estate developers and lenders that it only wanted to occupy 100,000 square feet of space, and both parties assured Eniva that they would help the company sell excess land, provide additional renters, and find additional capital as necessary. With those assurances, Eniva said that it “reluctantly” signed a master lease for the property.

However, the real estate group failed to disclose “multiple complicated financial relationships between various partners, including lenders,” and the developers and lenders didn't keep their promises, Eniva said.

“Eniva went forward with this filing to protect itself from the unscrupulous business practices of the north metro real estate and lender group,” Eniva CEO Andy Baechler said in an e-mail. “Eniva has a wonderful business, and our key business indicators are strong. We will most likely relocate in this process within the state of Minnesota and anticipate no loss of jobs and no loss of growth in this process. We have only one goal in this process: to distance ourselves as far from this group of lenders and real developers as possible.”

Several of Eniva's largest unsecured creditors are Minnesota companies. Minneapolis law firm Moss & Barnett, which defended the company in a 2008 lawsuit that was filed by a former employee and later settled, is owed the most-$375,201.

Other local companies owed money by Eniva-along with where they are headquartered and the amounts they are due-are:

¥ U.S. Bank (Minneapolis-although the St. Louis office is owed money): $316,507, for goods and services /> ¥ Sherrill Law Offices, PLLC (St. Paul), for legal services: $44,247 /> ¥ Hellmuth & Johnson, PLLC (Edina), for legal services: $39,943

Eniva indicated in its bankruptcy filing that it anticipates that at least a portion of the funds owed to creditors will be available for distribution at a later date.

Eniva was founded in 1998. The company manufactures a comprehensive line of advanced nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, and body-support products for humans and companion animals.