A look at the Petters Group

This can’t be good. The feds are raiding the offices of the Petters Group, a fairly secretive private company that buys up distressed companies and then tries to turn them around — Fingerhut, Polaroid, Sun Country Airlines are some of the company’s handiwork.

Last fall, MPR’s Marty Moylan profiled Tom Petters.

Petters started the “bottom feeder” businesses when he was 15, selling audio equipment out of his parents’ home when the stereo shop he worked in went out of business. He doesn’t have an MBA, he dropped out of college after one term, and he owns a house in Minnetonka valued at $5 million. He also has a mansion in Florida.

And he’s well-connected politically, giving large amounts of money to both Republicans (Sen. Norm Coleman) and Democrats (Rep. Jim Oberstar and state Sen. Terri Bonoff). CampaignMoney.com lists over $8,700 in political contributions this year.

Petters’ son was killed in Italy during a college break in 2004. He donated $10 million to his son’s school in his memory.

Petters and the man he bought Fingerhut from — Ted Deikel — have teamed up most recently in Enable Holdings, a company that sells “large amounts of excess inventory” on five different Web sites.

Many of Petter’s company’s Web sites — including the foundation set up in memory of his son — are not operating today.

Update 4:49 p.m. This statement has been released by the Petters Group:

Petters Group Worldwide said today that at approximately 9:00 a.m. agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and the Minnetonka Police Department arrived at its headquarters to execute a search warrant.

The headquarters building is closed for today and employees were sent home by the law enforcement personnel on the scene.

Andrea Miller, Director of Corporate Communications for Petters Group Worldwide, said that the investigation pertains to one financial entity that Petters is involved with and the investigation does not involve Sun Country, Polaroid, uBid, Fingerhut or Great Waters Media, the magazine group Petters recently acquired.

Miller said that Sun Country Airlines, which is owned by Petters Group Worldwide, is not affected by the investigation and continues to fly its normal scheduled and charter operations.

Petters Group Worldwide is cooperating fully with the investigation. The company will make additional information available as it is known

Petters Group Worldwide is a privately held company and as an active manager, they support the organizations they invest in by achieving investment synergies with services, financing and leveraging resources to support growth. The core areas of focus for Petters Group are merchandising, brand management, technology, aviation, real estate and investment capital.

  • sps

    Check out the Washington Post Radio Website for May 5, 2006 in the article entitled POLAROID ACQUIRED WITH CASH EMBEZZLED THROUGH OUR BANKRUPTCY COURTS. This is a story about an alleged bankruptcy fraud scheme perpetrated in the Minnesota federal bankruptcy court which involved Petters. Also found on msp3430.blogspot.com

  • Peg

    “raid”? “fairly secretive private company”? this sounds like a bad novel

    The Feds executed a search warrant.

    The whole point of being a private company is that you do have to make your business dealings public.

    Might be worthwhile to wait for actual facts.

  • Bob Collins

    //The whole point of being a private company is that you do have to make your business dealings public.

    So in other words “fairly secretive”? (g)

  • JackieZ

    Petters World Wide is a maze of shell companies put together for the purpose of money laundering.