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Rock tenant's plan to pay creditors gets go-ahead in West Deer

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Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, 12:56 a.m.

A company competing for ownership of bankrupt Rock Airport and Business Park in West Deer is allowed to proceed with a plan to pay creditors, a bankruptcy court judge ruled.

Management Science Associates, a business park tenant, lawfully acquired the Priscilla Garden Living Trust claim in an effort to gain standing to file a plan, Judge Carlotta Bohm determined.

She also found that the $8,000 trust claim is legitimate, and that MSA has standing to file a plan even in the absence of the claim.

Rock Airport attorney Robert Lampl said that acquiring a claim from an interested party should not provide a basis for MSA to file a plan to buy the airport out of bankruptcy. He said the move was an attempt to thwart the airport's reorganization plans.

The trust claim originated when the Grden family alleged that airport workers came onto their property next to the airport in 2005 and 2006 and cut down trees and cleared land using heavy equipment.

Although Ferrone denied directing anyone to cut down trees on the Grden property, Bohm determined that the evidence supports that trees were removed at the direction of someone at the airport.

“The trust's property was of obvious significance to the debtor (the airport) as evidence establishes that the debtor was interested in acquiring the trust's property” in order to remove runway obstructions, Bohm wrote in her opinion.

The ruling is significant in the bankruptcy case because now MSA's plan will compete with Ferrone's plan to pay creditors as well as a $6 million sale offer from Alaskan Property Management, a subsidiary of MSA.

Under MSA's plan, the company would buy the airport and business park property outright and pay off all creditors in cash, thereby gaining ownership and control of the property from Ferrone.

MSA has said it would keep the airport open.

Ferrone's plan also will maintain airport operations but would pay off creditors via proceeds from a natural gas lease with Huntley & Huntley and third parties buying out several of the creditor claims.

A hearing on all three is scheduled for Aug. 21.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702

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