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Wednesday, 18 November 2009 14:05

Ghost Town’s spotty financial disclosure frustrates creditors

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As Ghost Town heads toward its first big showdown in bankruptcy court next week, objections from those owed money are beginning to pile up.

Ghost Town, an Old West amusement park in Maggie Valley, recently filed a disclosure statement and reorganization plan, which are supposed to outline how it intends to pull out of bankruptcy — presumably making enough profit to repay its debts.

However, Ghost Town failed to include profit and loss statements, back tax filings or basic financial projections as part of its disclosure statement. Objections over the spotty disclosure statement were filed by several parties owed money, including the Haywood County Tax Collector, Mountain Energy and BB&T, the mortgage holder on the property.

Some 200 businesses, many of them local contractors and small businesses in the region, are collectively owed more than $2.4 million. They are at the bottom of the list to be repaid. The reorganization plan calls for paying back only 25 percent of what the businesses are owed over a seven year period using a portion of net profits.

In an objection, BB&T said such a claim was disingenuous. Since Ghost Town’s current owners have never turned a profit, it is possible the businesses owed money would never get a dime, BB&T wrote in its objection.

Ultimately, everyone owed money will get to vote on whether to accept the reorganization plan or force Ghost Town into a liquidation — namely selling off the mountaintop property to the highest bidder and using the proceeds to pay off the debt.

In the disclosure statement, CEO Steve Shiver encouraged everyone owed money to vote yes, claiming they likely won’t see a dime if the park is liquidated, since it won’t fetch enough to pay off all the debt.

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