Aces file for bankruptcy

Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2002

ANCHORAGE - Alaska's only professional sports franchise has filed for protection from creditors in federal Bankruptcy Court

The Anchorage Aces are almost $2 million in debt, according to papers filed Monday with the court.

Under the Chapter 11 filing, owner Mike Cusack Jr. retains control of the team and can pursue a plan to pay creditors and emerge from Bankruptcy Court oversight. Bill Artus, Cusack's attorney, said it can take three to six months for a proposed payment plan to be filed.

The manager of Anchorage Chrysler Dodge said his company is interested in buying the hockey team from Cusack.

Matt Thorpe of Anchorage Chrysler Dodge said Cusack approached the dealership about a sale. He wouldn't disclose the financial elements of the proposed deal.

"I think (Cusack) wants to do the correct thing for the community, the players and the rest of his staff," Thorpe said. "There are probably going to be some better offers out there, but I'm sure our long-term effects could be felt. We offer stability and are well embraced in the community."

If the Aces are sold, Artus said, the purchase price would be used to pay the team's creditors.

The Aces are one of two businesses owned by Cusack that filed for bankruptcy protection this week. The Northern Lights Hotel, which has been closed since early April because of fire-code violations, filed Tuesday, Artus said.

Cusack could not be reached for comment by the Anchorage Daily News.

The team has not been operating since power was shut off in its downtown Anchorage office almost two weeks ago.

The West Coast Hockey League plans to hold a hearing no later than the middle of next month to determine the status of the franchise.

League spokesman Adam Keller said any sale would need approval of the league's board of governors, but he said approval could come quickly.



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