Friday, September 13, 2019
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
|The Menominee Nation Arena is best known as the home of the Wisconsin Herd.|
The company that built the Menominee Nation Arena is arguing that it is the rightful owner of promised public subsidy payments, throwing another wrench into the financial reorganization plans of the facility’s owner.
In a Sept. 6 bankruptcy court filing, Bayland Buildings Inc. says that arena developer Fox Valley Pro Basketball Inc. signed over its interest in the city’s tax increment financing (TIF) payments. The money was promised as partial collateral for the $13 million mortgage loan that Bayland extended when Fox Valley was unable to pay its construction bill in 2018.
Bayland helped to push the arena developer into bankruptcy court last month by asking that a receiver be appointed to run the facility, best known as the home of the Wisconsin Herd minor league basketball team.
Fox Valley has asked for court permission to work out its debts, saying that it would use the city’s TIF payment and other revenues to pay operating costs in the meantime.
Last week the city filed a motion to hang on to the first $430,000 TIF payment, which is due Nov. 1. According to City Manager Mark Rohloff the money should go to whatever entity ends up running the arena, not necessarily the current owner.
If Oshkosh is told to make the payment so that the arena can continue operating, the city wants Fox Valley to put up a bond to cover the amount so that the money will be used to keep the facility running on a permanent basis and not just to satisfy overdue bills.
Rohloff did not seem too concerned about Bayland asserting its claim over the TIF money. “It demonstrates the need for the court to act on our motion,” he said.
Bayland’s filing extends beyond the TIF money to other contracts that Fox Valley entered into before it petitioned for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Chapter 11 is a legal process that is intended to give a company breathing room with creditors while it works out a way to pay off its debts.
The building contractor says that money the arena earns from new deals should belong to the arena. But Bayland says it has the right to money that comes in under contracts that were signed before the bankruptcy filing, which could include rental income and advertising sponsorships as well as the TIF.
“Bayland does not consent to the debtor’s continued use of the proceeds of the prepetition contracts, which constitute Bayland’s cash collateral, absent assurance of adequate protection,” the company said in a legal filing. “Debtor’s use of the proceeds of the prepetition contracts will immediately and irreparably harm Bayland’s interest in its collateral.”
In other legal action, Greg Pierce, the owner of Fox Valley, has denied claims made by Bayland about his financial stewardship of the arena. He also called for Bayland’s foreclosure suit to be dismissed.
Similarly Pierce has filed a response to a lawsuit from his former attorney over nonpayment of bills asking that it be dismissed. He said he and his former lawyer modified their legal services agreement “such that plaintiff’s claim for payment is barred in whole or part.”
Efforts to obtain comment from Bayland and from Fox Valley’s current and former lawyers were not immediately successful.
Monday, September 9, 2019
By Miles Maguire
A routine traffic stop that turned into a potentially deadly encounter between two Oshkosh police officers and a driver who tried to use her car as a lethal weapon has led to a 10-year sentence for a former Boyd Street resident.
Caitlyn Nicole Heinz, 28, pleaded guilty in February to two counts of recklessly endangering safety, eluding an officer and causing a hit-and-run injury. Her sentence was finalized Sept. 5 with a modification to one of the overlapping terms she had received.
The April 2018 incident began when an Oshkosh police officer working radar clocked a car going 42 in a 30 mph zone near South Main Street and West 16th Avenue, according to the criminal complaint.
After executing a traffic stop, the officer was unable to identify the driver, who “appeared to be giving false information,” and he asked for backup. A second policeman arrived, who questioned Heinz further before the two officers decided that they would need to remove her from the vehicle.
As one officer tried to unlock the car’s door, the driver became “verbally combative” and grabbed for the transmission gear lever and “placed it all the way into drive,” police said.
The officers reached into the car, and Heinz “then accelerated quickly at a high rate of speed” with both policemen still inside.
One officer was able to disentangle himself within 15 feet and landed on the ground. But the other officer said he “ended up with my back against the steering wheel” using one hand to try to control the gear shift and “the other attempting to combat the female driver.”
At this point Heinz “latched onto my middle right finger with her mouth as I was yelling at her to stop, and she continued to bite even harder, moving her head back and forth as if she was trying to bite off the top of my middle right finger,” the officer said.
The driver put the car into reverse and drove it towards the other officer. The first officer was still in the car, with his back to the front windshield, which he struck and broke with his head as the car lurched around in a circle, according to court papers.
The second officer was able to dodge the car the first time, but as it circled around a second time he was struck by the driver’s side door, which was still open. Heinz continued to reverse until she hit a house on the east side of Doty Street, police said
“At that point things seemed to be slightly fuzzy,” the first officer said. The second officer then drew his firearm but realized he could not shoot at Heinz with his fellow officer still in the car. He ran up to Heinz’s vehicle, which she then floored, reaching an estimated speed of 30 to 40 mph, while she drove back across Doty Street until she struck the porch of a house on the other side, according to court records.
After she hit the first house, Heinz stopped biting the officer who was in the car with her. He was able to punch her in the face several times but when she accelerated, he “ended up physically flying back into the backseat of the vehicle,” he said. “I was actually almost upside down when we had finally come to a stop.” At that point the car had blown several tires, according to the criminal complaint.
Heinz ran from the scene but was caught by other officers after a short chase.
Judge Teresa Basiliere heard the case with Adam Levin as the prosecutor of record and Brianne Patzer and Kristina Sanders-Brown representing Heinz.