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Cameron Glass files for bankruptcy; creditors take legal action

Post Time:Oct 09,2009Classify:Company NewsView:1365

Cameron Family Glass Packaging Inc. filed for bankruptcy Monday, seeking court approval to sell off its Kalama wine bottle plant to pay of 170 creditors. In the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, the company did not indicate how much it owes. The sale is scheduled for January.

In separate actions in Cowlitz County Superior Court, Longview contractor JH Kelly — which built the plant — filed an $8.1 million construction lien against Pennsylvania-based Cameron in September.

Cameron’s largest lender, Seattle-based Northwest Farm Credit Service, claims in a foreclosure suit that it’s owed $61.5 million, according to court documents. Northwest Farm, which was the principal financier of the project, is believed to the biggest creditor.

A message left for Cameron’s Delaware-based attorney was not returned Tuesday. Company officials have not returned calls since the plant shut down Sept. 13. The last employees were let go five days later.

The $109 million wine-bottle manufacturing plant at the Port of Kalama had been touted as the great economic development success in the area during the recession. It fired up last fall. However, it shut down in January after a massive leak of molten glass during a test nearly collapsed the entire facility. Although the damage had been repaired and the plant was producing bottles on at least a test basis, the company shut the plant down a month ago. Cameron has never explained its decision or told why the plant failed.

At its peak, the plant employed about 100 people.

JH Kelly and Cameron officials are negotiating a payment with a mediator, Mason Evans, JH Kelly president, said Tuesday. The two sides last met in August before the shutdown, he said.

“We’re making good progress,” Evans said.

“We want to see them succeed, and, ultimately, a new buyer come in and employ people in Cowlitz County,” Evans added.

After building the plant, JH Kelly turned the plant over to Cameron last October but did additional work later that year, company attorneys said. Kelly also assisted in the repairs of the glass leaks, attorneys said.

Northwest Farm Credit Service is urging Cowlitz County Superior Court for swift action to help it recover what it can from the mothballed plant. In its court filing, Mike Wittman, Northwest Farm’s vice president, said the firm Northwest Farm is worried about theft and vandalism, and the financier does not even have a key to the place.

“The collateral and its revenue-producing potential are in danger of being lost or materially injured,” Wittman wrote.

Source: www.tdn.comAuthor: shangyi

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