When a Business Bankruptcy Has a Happy-Ending Story

June 2, 2013 1:48 pm Published by

Earlier this week, while on the Internet and searching newspapers and professional journals to find information that might be of help to Bankruptcy in Indiana readers, I found some saddening stories about the increasing number of cancer patients driven to file personal bankruptcy because of medical costs.

Today, though, I can share the kind of story that makes me glad I chose to devote much of my career to helping with small business bankruptcy in Indiana.  The story itself is about a company in Alabama, yet it illustrates the kind of relief and hope that the bankruptcy system can bring to business owners who have taken risks and, often through no fault of their own, gotten into financial trouble.

It’s interesting that several other Indiana bankruptcy lawyers (I’ve asked all my colleagues in the five Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices to be on the alert for relevant news) called my attention to this same story about the Otelco Company.  By way of background, Otelco provides telephone and high-speed data services in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont, and West Virginoa, and just now announced that they are emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy..

Now, had this been a personal bankruptcy in Indiana or any of states in which Otelco operates, there would have been no big announcement.  Over my 26 years as an Indianapolis bankruptcy lawyer, I’ve found that the one question I’ve found is on people’s minds when they’re deciding whether to file personal bankruptcy in Indiana is “Who needs to know?” Unfortunately, all too often the fear of having their privacy compromised prevents people from taking advantage of Indiana’s bankruptcy safety net. The reality of things is that, while bankruptcy procedures are a matter of public record, unless you’re a celebrity or running for public office, it’s unlikely anyone will find out about your bankruptcy. In fact, most Indiana newspapers stopped reporting bankruptcies many years ago! In fact, that’s true even of small business bankruptcy in Indiana.
It’s different with a large public company like Otelco.” Today,” announced company president and CEO Mike Weaver, “we completed the actions necessary to implement the final steps of our restructuring plan.”

Weaver reported that:

  • Otelco’s total debt has been reduced by more than $50 million.
  • Otelco’s senior credit facility has been extended through April of 2016.
  • Otelco has a clear plan to make quarterly principal payments on the remaining debt.
  • Otelco was able to, all through the process of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, continue uninterrupted serve to its customers.
  • Otelcoo was able to pay its vendors in full for goods and services provided.

The Otelco story is a perfect example of the way the new bankruptcy laws of Indiana are designed to work, offering debtors the chance for a fresh financial start while treating both debtors and creditors as fairly and equally as possible, and allowing a debtors (in this case a corporation) to return to economically productive lives!



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This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg

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