Judge sets foreclosure hearing for next week

Judge sets foreclosure hearing for next week

Cahalan, Steve

A La Crosse County Circuit judge has scheduled a hearing for next week on motions by City Brewing Co.’s largest lender for a final foreclosure judgment and court-ordered sale of the brewery, and for the appointment of a receiver.

Also on Wednesday, an eighth supplier filed a lawsuit against the beer company over unpaid bills. Agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. of Wayzata, Minn., asked for a $102,313 judgment against the brewery for corn syrup it supplied for making beer. The eight lawsuits filed so far by suppliers seek a combined total of $840,049.

On Monday, Congress Financial Corp. filed a motion for a final foreclosure judgment and a court-ordered sale of the City Brewery, and a motion for the appointment of La Crosse lawyer George Parke III as receiver for the property. It asked Judge John J. Perlich to approve the two motions in five days.

In an interview Monday, brewery co-owner Jim Strupp said he and his partner, John Mazzuto, would object to the motions. But Strupp declined to give the reasons they would object.

On Tuesday, Brent Smith, a partner in the La Crosse law firm Johns Flaherty & Rice, filed the objections on behalf of City Brewing and asked that Perlich hold a hearing. Perlich scheduled the hearing for next Wednesday.

Smith said Wednesday that he cannot comment on City Brewing’s basis for filing the objections. He did say, “I think there will be some other developments in the next couple days,” but declined to elaborate.

City Brewing President Randy Smith has been negotiating a possible employee buyout of the brewery from Strupp and Mazzuto. Smith and Strupp were not available for comment Wednesday. But Strupp said Monday that “probably by Thursday morning, I’ll have a pretty good idea of where we are.” Strupp also said there are other prospective buyers.

Randy Smith said last week that an investment banking group would provide needed money for an employee buyout and would be part owner under that option.

Congress Financial filed a foreclosure complaint against City Brewing on June 9, saying the company failed to pay off its loan April 30 and owed $4,441,621 in principal and $1,294 in interest as of May 30. The lender put foreclosure proceedings on hold under a June 19 agreement with Strupp and Mazzuto. In the motions filed Monday, Congress Financial said Strupp and Mazzuto had not complied with the June 19 agreement.

Copyright La Crosse Tribune Aug 03, 2000

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