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GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- Several dozen independent dealers regionwide are waiting to see if the outcome of Appalachian Oil Co.’s (Appco) bankruptcy case leaves any money for them to collect part of what they are owed, The Kingsport Times-News reported.
These independent operators lost money when credit card purchases of gas at their stores kept going to Appco last winter, even after they were getting their gas from different oil jobbers. Out of Appco’s $8 million or so in unsecured debt, the amount these independent dealers are owed totals approximately $300,000, according to the report.
"I’m a little corner convenience store. We have a deli and sell food because we’re on the lake and we’re a big fishing store. It’s my only store, it’s my livelihood, and I’m not going to say it didn’t hurt me, because I had to pay for that gas," said Andrea Cartwright, owner of Douglas Lake Market in White Pine, who is owed $6,052.57.
Cartwright paid her new fuel supplier more than $6,000 when Exxon gas it supplied was credited to Appco’s account. Though Exxon paid Appco for the gas someone else supplied, Appco never paid Cartwright prior to its Feb. 9, Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
The bankruptcy court recently appointed Andy Weber as chief restructuring officer and tasked him with trying to market and sell Appco’s assets for as much as possible. Appco owes its lender, Greystone Business Credit, more than $11 million, and that debt is "secured," meaning sale proceeds will go to Greystone first, The Times-News reported.
In a Chapter 11 case, all "pre-petition" debt is protected by an "automatic stay." Creditors cannot pursue their money through legal action until the bankruptcy case is completed.
Along with food vendors, utilities, landlords, lottery commissions, beer distributors, accounting firms and more, the convenience stores like Douglas Lake Market are waiting to see if the outcome of Appco’s bankruptcy case leaves any money for them to collect. Chapter 11 cases that result in sales of companies or liquidation often leave unsecured creditors paid just pennies on the dollar, if anything, the report said.
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