Skyways Inc. Files Bankruptcy Petition

Times Staff Writer

Listing debts that are more than three times as great as its assets, an Orange County airplane and limousine leasing company has gone out of business, filing a bankruptcy petition in the Santa Ana branch of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The petition for A.O. Skyways Inc. and its Skyway Limousine service, filed under Chapter 7 of the federal Bankruptcy Code, lists debts of $599,623, all but about $14,000 unsecured, and assets of $165,375.

Owned and operated by Gary Ziebarth of El Toro, Skyways rented airplanes and limousines out of offices at John Wayne Airport for at least 4 1/2 years. Ziebarth could not be reached for comment.

Skyways is involved in seven lawsuits, including its defense of a $250,000 claim of negligence in the operation of a leased airplane.

The Feb. 1 bankruptcy filing also alleges that a former employee converted funds to his own use. The petition claims the employee sold a $38,000 limousine for $25,000 and kept the money and that he took checks totaling $13,593 and opened a separate bank account for himself.

According to the petition, the former employee claims a 40% ownership in the firm, but Ziebarth listed himself as sole owner of all shares in the corporation.

Newport Beach attorney Laura A. Meyers, who with her firm, Walker & Kendrick, is handling the bankruptcy for Zeibarth, declined to comment on the case.

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