West Virginia Record

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Bankruptcy judge agrees to dismiss Charleston Newspapers bankruptcy case after debts are paid


By Kyla Asbury | Jul 25, 2019

| Morguefile

CHARLESTON — Federal Bankruptcy Judge Frank Volk approved a motion to dismiss a case involving Charleston Newspapers last week pending payment to the company's debtor, United Bank.

During a July 17 hearing, Volk noted that after Charleston Newspaper satisfied its fees to attorneys and accountants and paid off the rest of its debt to United Bank, according to The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Charleston Newspapers owed more than $31 million when it originally filed for bankruptcy last January; it's two largest debts were to United Bank for $15.6 million and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for $12 million, the newspaper reported.

Charleston Newspapers filed a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case on June 12.

The newspaper company requested the chapter 11 bankruptcy cases be dismissed and the court refrain from entering dismissal orders until after the final fee applications have been "adjudicated and the Debtors have been permitted sufficient time to pay their professionals, satisfy any unpaid U.S. Trustee fees, and remit any additional funds...to United Bank."

"The alternative to dismissal — conversion — is unnecessary and would provide no benefit to creditors, but rather it would impose additional administrative costs upon the Debtors’ estates without any source of funds to satisfy such costs," the motion states.

United Bank filed a response to the motion to dismiss on July 10, stating that the bank presently has a claim in the approximate principal amount of $6,354,484.07 and is the only remaining secured creditor in these cases.

"United agrees with the Debtors that there is no reason to pursue a plan of reorganization or liquidation and dismissal of these cases is appropriate," the response states. "Upon payment of the Remaining Admin Claims, the Debtors will have a limited amount of cash and such remaining cash is subject to United's security interest."

As the debtors point out in the motion, there is no longer a business to reorganize and once United Bank receives the balance remaining from the holdback, no assets to distribute, according to the response.

"United agrees that dismissal of these cases is in the best interests of the Debtors' creditors and estates and that keeping these cases in bankruptcy will serve no purpose," the response states. "As long as the Debtors’ cases remain open, there will be a further decrease in what limited cash remains in the estates."

The debtors are represented by Brian A. Audette of Perkins Coie; and Joe M. Supple of Supple Law Office.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Case numbers: 2:18-bk-20028, 2:18-bk-20029, 2:18-bk-20030, 2:18-bk-20032, 2:18-bk-20033, 2:18-bk-20034

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