Lawsuit claims First NBC Bank made dubious loans to Baton Rouge software firm
This story has been updated since its original publication to clarify that Thinkstream Acquisition purchased Thinkstream’s assets.
First NBC Bank’s troubled lending practices may have extended to Thinkstream, a Baton Rouge law enforcement software firm founded by Barry Bellue that was forced into bankruptcy in 2015 and its assets snatched up by another local tech company.
Papers filed in a civil lawsuit in Orleans Parish District Court allege that prior to Thinkstream’s forced bankruptcy, the recently failed bank continued lending more money to the company and to Bellue personally—even as both were in default on existing loans and were insolvent—in a likely effort to artificially keep the loans current by paying itself interest as the earlier loans became due.
Those allegations were made by Thinkstream Acquisition, the company founded in December 2015 by J. Smith Thomas to buy Thinkstream’s assets, which operates as Kologik. Thomas is the owner of BIG Networks, a Baton Rouge tech firm that provides IT services. Thinkstream, which provided software to hundreds of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in Louisiana and other states, was forced into bankruptcy in May 2015 with an estimated $21 million in debt. In its deal to acquire the firm’s assets, Thinkstream Acquisition purchased all First NBC claims against the original Thinkstream, which by then had ballooned to $4.9 million.