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June 20, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
Commander Premier Aircraft, located at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, Mo., has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and is facing an eviction notice from city officials. The bid winner for the company could not find financing from European banks to close the deal.
Despite the eviction notice, Commander Premier Aircraft President Greg Walker said he hopes a new buyer can be found before the eviction is enforced.
The company was sold in 2009 to Ronald Strauss, a Montreal investor, but since that time, he has been unable to collect a group of European banks willing to invest in the company during a recession. Strauss was in Europe recently to raise the funding to complete the purchase.
City officials, who built the factory for a previous tenant using bonds to raise money, recently paid off the bonds using casino money and can now do as they wish with the building since bond restrictions on its use are now lifted. The city sent an eviction notice May 16 to the company.
Walker said the bankruptcy filing, which allows the company to re-organize under protection from creditors, was forced by the threat of legal actions from both Strauss and the city that could have prevented a new buyer from purchasing the company. There was no binding agreement, Walker said, between Strauss and the previous owner. StoneGate Capital Group, the previous owner, will now try to find a new buyer.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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