Cobwebs are growing on a sheet line that has sat locked in a Galion, Ohio, warehouse for three-plus years, as legal wrangling continues.
Now the debate centers on a rent bill of nearly $80,000, and whether the sheet line should be sold through written bids generated by a trade-publication advertisement, or in a live auction. Judge Barbara Sellers of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Columbus will decide the issues, after two motions were filed in early September.
The former HPM Corp. made the line for Owens-Illinois (Australia) Pty. Ltd. It was in the warehouse when HPM filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation back on Aug. 1, 2001.
Taylor's Industrial Services LLC bought the assets of HPM just before the bankruptcy. In late 2002, Taylor's gave up any rights to the equipment, which appeared to pave the way for the sale.
Bankruptcy trustee Sara Daneman placed a classified in the Aug. 23 issue of Plastics News for the multilayer coextrusion sheet line and a Walton-Stout material loading and drying system. The machinery would be sold to the highest bidder. Daneman's court filing said the ad would save the cost of an auctioneer.
In separate motions filed Sept. 2, Taylor's and the landlord both objected to certain aspects of the sale.
Wyandot Associates Inc. does not oppose the sale; but it wants its rent due of $2,221 a month - $79,956 as of Sept. 1. Wyandot said it would object to a sale that does not provide its rent payment.
Wyandot cites an earlier court ruling that says it has a claim for the money, to be paid from sale of the sheet line. According to the landlord, however, Daneman's motion to sell the machinery does not mention any rent payments.
Taylor's Industrial Services calls itself ``a potential purchaser'' of the sheet line in its motion, where the firm in Tinton Falls, N.J., requests an ``open bid'' auction instead of bids generated from the ad.
``This procedure would permit all parties to increase their bid, thereby benefiting the bankruptcy estate,'' Taylor's argued.
Taylor's also wants Judge Sellers to say that Daneman should sell the Owens-Illinois equipment ``as a whole unit and not in its component parts.''