Late Wednesday afternoon Sportsman's Park and Club filed a chattel deed of trust securing liabilities in excess of $108,000. Chris Von der Ahe is named trustee. He is also a preferred creditor in the aggregate of $91,000. Thirty other creditors are named with claims ranging from $100 to $3,075. The largest sum is due to the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company.
The Union Bank of St. Paul has a claim for $1,751.46 and the Northwestern Savings Bank a claim for $100. David Nicholson is a creditor to the amount of [illegible] and the Laclede Gas Light Company to the extent of $800. The other claims aggregate about $10,000, making the outside indebtedness about $17,000.
The alleged indebtedness to Chris comprises 32 notes of $1,300 each and 20 notes of $1,000 each. One big note of $13,935.72, another of $12,000 and one for $3,950 were executed Wednesday, all three being for a period of six months. The other indebtedness to Chris comprises over 30 counts, running from $50 up...
Von der Ahe is authorized to take charge of the assets which consist of the entire Sportsman's Park outfit, and sell the property at private sale, in six months. Such assets as remain unsold at the end of six months are to be sold at public sale at the east front door of the Courthouse. He is also directed to keep the property insured for $31,800.
Duly recorded mortgages and judgments against Sportsman's Park and Club are not affected by the deed. Neither are the bonds to the amount of $20,000 guaranteed by the St. Louis Trust Company. Mr. Becker, it is understood, has as security for his loan a large block of stock enough it is said to give him the controlling interest in the club. He waived protest on the 12th inst., on Chris' promise to take up the note for $12,000 up on Saturday, June 15. The deed of trust puts Mr. Becker's security in danger, as the stock will be worthless, if Von der Ahe's preferred claims are paid.
While Von der Ahe held the office of president of the corporation, Sportsman's Park and Club could not assign to him and give his claims preferrence. In order to do this in conformity to the law, he as the principal stockholder elected B.S. Muckenfuss president and J.W. Peckington secretary and they turned the trick.
This effort to bar out other creditors will be fought bitterly in the courts, and in the opinion of those familiar with Chis' mental abilities, the deposed boss will not be able to stand the ordeal of cross examination and the chances are that the conspiracy against his creditors will fail in its purpose.
-The Sporting News, January 15, 1898
Once the sale of the assets fell through, everything was supposed to be auctioned off and that's why we had all of the talk about auctions in the second half of the summer of 1898. That was the plan as it was laid down in January and I think VdA was attempting to arrange everything so that he would either come out ahead on the sale of the club or retain control of the Browns. And I think that makes sense. VdA was in a rather precarious situation and there existed the real possibility that he would loss everything. He was fighting tooth and nail in an attempt to avoid that.
This article also explains why Muckenfuss was named president of the club. It was simply another maneuver by VdA so that he could get some money out of the sale or auction of the club assets. He couldn't be a preferred creditor if he was an officer of the club and, therefore, he gave up his position as president and became the trustee. The article also lays out Becker's position at the beginning of the year. Becker's loans to the club were secured by enough club stock to potentially give him control of the Browns and, as the article notes, VdA's moves threatened the value of the stock. If VdA's claim to be the be the largest creditor of the club was upheld, Becker would lose his investment. These January moves put VdA on a collision course with both Muckenfuss and Becker.
Tomorrow, I'm going to post a bit more from this article. Specifically, I want to post a rather interesting quote from Muckenfuss that speaks to Von der Ahe's financial situation and his motivations.