Monday, October 21, 2019

Oshkosh agrees to help arena owner with cash flow issue by cutting a check early

A new court filing says the Menominee Nation Arena owner will get paid a little early.
By Miles Maguire
The city of Oshkosh has agreed to accelerate the payment of a tax incentive payment to the developer of the Menominee Nation Arena as a way of addressing an immediate cash flow problem.

The city’s early payment, expected to be about $385,000, allowed the developer, Fox Valley Pro Basketball Inc., to delay taking on additional debt as it tries to come up with a financial reorganization plan.

“The debtor appreciates the city’s cooperation that has saved expenses for the debtor, and thanks the city for its cooperation,” lawyers for Fox Valley said in an Oct. 15 filing.

The city had originally agreed to pay the developer $430,000 by Nov. 1 and then said it might hold on to the money. The final agreement allows the city to deduct some money that it is owed and requires the developer to pay some outstanding utility bills.

City Manager Mark Rohloff downplayed the significance of the move. “Part of the payment is to settle prior accounts, so we are just moving forward,” he said.

The early payment, which was due Nov. 1, does not fundamentally alter the challenges that Fox Valley has in paying its bills, but it does signal a more cooperative atmosphere among the various parties in the arena’s bankruptcy case.

Fox Valley still expects to require more financing, but that may come from selling off future payments that are due from the city under its development agreement.

“While there are no commitments yet, the debtor believes the prospects are promising,” Fox Valley said in its court filing.

The filing also said that the developer is in talks “with an investment banker that specializes in raising funds for sports teams and complexes.” No decision has been made about seeking additional funding in this way, “but raising funds would provide the Debtor with more options in proposing a plan of reorganization.”

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