Published August 11, 2012
Ben Moore's in Olympia files for bankruptcy for the fourth timeROLF BOONE
The owner of Ben Moore’s Restaurant & Bar in downtown Olympia has filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, the fourth time he has sought protection from creditors, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington. Michael David Murphy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 1985, when the business was known as Ben Moore’s Cafe & Bar, and then Chapter 13 in July 2002, October 2007 and July 24, bankruptcy court data show. Chapter 11 typically allows a business to restructure its debts and continue to operate, while under a Chapter 13 filing, the debtor establishes a repayment plan. The most recent filing shows that total creditors range from one to 49. Estimated assets are in the range of $100,001 to $500,000, while estimated liabilities are in the same range, the filing shows. Murphy could not be reached for comment Thursday. His Tacoma-based attorney, James Dart, said that although Ben Moore’s has had challenges due to the slower economy, Murphy is committed to keeping the business going. “He’s basically willing to sacrifice everything to keep the business open,” Dart said, adding that Murphy is living modestly “just to keep the restaurant going.” Creditors listed in the filing include the state Department of Revenue, the Department of Labor and Industries and Employment Security Department. Murphy has a made a lot of progress with his past tax issues – repaying employee related taxes and state business taxes – and then the economy slowed, Dart said.. “He took a real hit like everyone else did, but he’s hanging on,” he said. Murphy’s payment plan is to pay $1,000 a month for five years, Dart said. Murphy has owned the business for about 30 years, Dart said. Ben Moore’s is older than that and Murphy sees himself as a caretaker of the business, “an icon for Olympia,” he said. Ben Moore’s is at 112 Fourth Ave. W. The Ben Moore’s building was built in 1928, according to Thurston County Assessor data.