Biz Buzz: Hurst Financial vice president's debts discharged because of bankruptcy

An Atascadero woman who, with her father, is facing fraud allegations in connection with the collapse of lender Hurst Financial had her debts discharged in U.S. Bankruptcy Court this week.

That legally nullifies all claims that she is financially liable in the San Luis Obispo Superior Court lawsuits filed over the past two years against the failed lending company.

Former Hurst Financial Vice President Courtney Brard had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in August after she was named in a number of civil lawsuits and state regulators accused her of wrongdoing.

Her job included meeting with investors, allegedly misrepresenting that their money would be used to fund loans to finance home and commercial construction, according to the lawsuits and allegations by state regulators.

However, their money was used for other purposes, including paying off other investors in attempting to perpetuate a Ponzi scheme, the lawsuits and regulators allege.

Because of Brard’s bankruptcy filings, all civil suits against her were put on hold until U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robin L. Riblet in Santa Barbara ruled on the best course of action in the case.

Because Hurst Financial President Jay Hurst Miller — Brard’s father — filed for personal bankruptcy protection himself after placing the firm in bankruptcy, lawsuits against him and his company have been stayed as well.

After allegations of fraud by the Department of Real Estate, Miller shut Hurst Financial down in September 2008, and he and Brard surrendered their real estate licenses to the state. Miller has also been under a criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, according to San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Steve von Dohlen.

It has not been made public whether Brard has also been under investigation by federal authorities.

Brard, 29, listed her personal assets at more than $143,000, with debts or other liabilities of nearly $34,500.

Her husband, Joshua Brard, a carpenter with earnings of roughly $3,000 a month, was also named in her bankruptcy court filing as a co-debtor.

The Hurst Financial bankruptcy, as well as Miller’s personal bankruptcy, are still in the bankruptcy court and are not affected by the judge’s decision in Courtney Brard’s case.

— Melanie Cleveland

New president at Mainstream Energy

Mainstream Energy Corporation of San Luis Obispo, a supplier of solar electric equipment and systems, recently hired Kam Mofid of Nipomo as president.

Mofid will be responsible for the company’s 540 employees and developing strategic growth initiatives, including the overall management of its two business units, AEE Solar and REC Solar.

Mofid previously was group president of the green technology arm of Teleflex Incorporated, a medical and aerospace supplier.

He has also served as a materials and logistics director at United Technologies company Pratt & Whitney, and has held engineering and management positions at General Motors.

Mofid has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo, a master’s degree in manufacturing management from Kettering University and a master’s degree from Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

— Julia Hickey

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A recent $15,000 donation by the Bank of America Corporate Philanthropy Division will make it possible for the Women’s Business Center of the Mission Community Services Corp. to expand business technical assistance services throughout the service territory of San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Kern counties. The grant is to fund research for development of a virtual business center and workshop system.

—Julia Hickey