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Free Lance-Star Publishing Company Advances Toward Sale of Assets

By Susan Larson

The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company was back in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond on Thursday.  Attorney’s for the publishing company asked U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin R. Huennekens to authorize the use of cash collateral through April 30.  Lynn Tavenner, the attorney representing the Free Lance-Star, said it would “allow the sale process to get moving.”

Judge Huennekens had approved motions when the publishing company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan 23 to enable the Free Lance-Star Publishing Co. to continue operations while pursuing sale of the company.

New York City-based Sandton Capital Partners is one of two primary creditors in the Chapter 11 case.  According to the Free Lance-Star, Sandton owns the 2007 loan used by FLS to build Print Innovators, a state-of-the-art commercial printing plant on Belman Road in Fredericksburg. The outstanding balance is about $38 million.

The Sandton legal team agreed Thursday to a 2 p.m. hearing March 6 to set the sale process and bid procedures for FLS’s assets.  Tavenner told the judge she’d heard from Sandton Council Sharon Levine “there’s been lots of interest in the sale.”

A second hearing was set for 10 a.m. March 24 to discuss any issues counsel are not able to resolve outside of court.

The Feb. 27 hearing lasted less than 20 minutes.  In addition to the attorneys, FLS Publisher Nick Cadwallender and Associate Publisher Florence C. Barnick were present.  All parties planned to meet 30 minutes after Thursday’s hearing to continue discussions.  Judge Huennekens praised the plans for arbitration.

On Friday, creditors in the bankruptcy case will meet in Richmond federal court.

The Free Lance-Star Publishing Co. was founded in 1885.  In addition to The Free Lance-Star, the company’s assets include Fredericksburg.com, Freelancestar.com, WFLS, WVBX (formerly WYSK), WWUZ and WNTX. It also owns real estate and other digital operations, the newspaper said.
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