Bankruptcy court approves lending proposal for Menominee Nation Arena owner

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - UPDATE 8/23:

Basketball game at Menominee Nation Arena (WBAY file photo)

A Bankruptcy court has approved a lending proposal for Fox Valley Pro Basketball as the owner of Menominee Nation Arena works to reorganize its business.

Fox Valley Pro Basketball filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Aug. 19. The company owns the arena in Oshkosh and Wisconsin Glo women's basketball team. The arena is home to the Milwaukee Bucks G League affiliate Wisconsin Herd.

The building's contractor, Bayland Buildings, filed a Foreclosure of Mortgage complaint against Fox Valley Pro Basketball, claiming the company owes $13 million on the mortgage and no regularly-scheduled payment has been made since May 2018.

Fox Valley Pro Basketball retained firm Kerkman & Dunn to handle the reorganization process.

Windward Wealth Strategies, Inc. has agreed to lend up to $200,000 to Fox Valley Pro Basketball so it can "meet its cash flow needs during Chapter 11 proceedings." Windward is owned by a group with a controlling interest in FVPB.

"We are putting our own money on the line to make this work," says Fox Valley Pro Basketball President Greg Pierce.

The court approved that proposal during an Aug. 23 hearing.

"We will be able to use the groundwork laid by Mr. Pierce to form a plan of reorganization. We believe that The Company should be able to exit Chapter 11 within a relatively short time and expect the principal amounts due to all creditors to be paid in full. This will be a superior result than what creditors can expect in a receivership," says Jerome Kerkman.

The arena will continue to operate through reorganization. General Manager Jason Fields says staff remain committed to the greater Oshkosh Community.

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PREVIOUS REPORT

The owner of Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Federal court records show Fox Valley Pro Basketball, Inc. made the filing Aug. 19 in the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bankruptcy Court, just before the company was due in Winnebago County court Monday afternoon for being more than a year behind on the arena's mortgage.

Action 2 News previously reported that general contractor Bayland Buildings filed a Foreclosure of Mortgage complaint against Fox Valley Pro Basketball, claiming the company owes $13 million on the mortgage and no regularly-scheduled payment has been made since May 2018.

The bankruptcy filing lists estimated assets between $10 million and $50 million, and between 100 and 199 creditors, and estimated liabilities also between $10 million and $50 million.

The motion Monday means Fox Valley Pro Basketball and its president, Greg Pierce, will continue to oversee day-to-day operations at the arena.

Pierce was not in court Monday, and neither was his attorney.

We spoke with an attorney for Bayland Buildings right after Monday's short hearing in Winnebago County court.

"I can't say it wasn't expected. The thought that they would file bankruptcy was something we had been prepared for and ready for," Steve Krueger said.

He continued, "At this point it has little to do with what our choice is in the matter. It's going to be tied up in bankruptcy court for some time, and we have to let the court process play out that way."

The arena is home to the NBA G League Wisconsin Herd. The basketball team is affiliated with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The arena is the focal point of an area south of the Fox River, known as the Sawdust District, with long-term redevelopment plans.

The City of Oshkosh is not a part of the lawsuit but has suspended property tax rebate payments tied to the arena being in a TIF district. CLICK HERE for more on the city's reaction to the financial situation at the arena.

We're still waiting for a date to be set for the bankruptcy hearing.

"That does mean that status quo will happen with the arena. Nothing changes. In terms of timing for the bankruptcy court that's yet to be seen. I assume we will try to push that process along as much as we can,' added Krueger.



 
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