Caterer left clients in the lurch


Patricia Schultz and Roland Peer probably won't drink a toast to Richard Carl Day at their wedding reception in May in Rosedale.

After all, they got nothing for the $600 deposit Ms. Schultz paid last Sept. 6 to schedule the party at his Dundalk catering hall, which went belly-up 18 days later with debts of nearly $1 million.

And they were not alone, said Kenneth F. Davies, the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee.

It will be a while before Ms. Schultz or any of the other two dozen people -- many of them young couples planning weddings -- who paid deposits last year for events in 1992 see any of their money, Mr. Davies said.

The last event at the Del-Capri, on German Hill Road, was Dec. 8.

"They told me everything was fine, that they were reorganizing under new management," said Ms. Schultz, 20.

Mr. Day, a Harford County resident, already was on the financial edge in January 1991. He had filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition for time to reorganize the catering business and Richard's Restaurant and Lounge, formerly Minnick's, on Sollers Point Road.

But on Sept. 24, the bankruptcy was converted to Chapter 7 -- liquidation.

Mr. Day, who lived near Bel Air in a fancy house with a pool, left for Florida owing about $400,000 on Del-Capri, $300,000 on his house and $200,000 to the Minnicks, plus back taxes, Mr. Davies said.

The Minnicks, Daniel and Joseph, are awaiting final court approval to regain ownership of the longtime family establishment, which Mr. Davies said he allowed them to reopen in November.

Depositors, like Ms. Schultz and Mr. Peer, 22, are at the top of the repayment list, Mr. Davies said. But until he sells the catering hall or Mr. Day's house there won't be any money, and the trustee said he has had no bites so far.

As for Mr. Day, the answering machine on the telephone listed to him in Florida announces, "Hi, this is Richard. I'm not in now, I'm out doing the town."

"Yeah, he's out spending my money," declared Ms. Schultz, who has moved her reception to a hall in Rosedale.

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