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"New Jersey airport plan to sell rights to state OK'd"
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- Subject: CAA: GA News, "New Jersey airport plan to sell rights to state OK'd"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2002 15:44:59 -0800
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Thursday, December 26, 2002
Airport plan to sell rights to state OK'd
Bankruptcy court accepts financing to stave off creditors' demands on
Central Jersey Regional Airport
By John Patten
The Manville (NJ) News
A bankruptcy judge in Trenton has stepped aside to allow the state of
New Jersey to purchase development rights at the Central Jersey Regional
Airport, the airport's owners announced.
According to co-owner Joe Horner, the move means the airport can
focus on safety improvements planned since 1996.
The struggling airport had been working to protect its future by
having the state purchase the rights to develop the property. Working
with Hillsborough Township and the Department of Transportation, the
airport's operators were able to secure a commitment from the DOT to
follow through with the financing.
However, the 110-acre airport on Millstone River Road had been mired
in bankruptcy proceedings, and the Bridgewater-based development company
Pizzo and Pizzo held a $4 million note due earlier this month.
While the DOT expressed interest in purchasing the rights after DOT
Commissioner Jaime Fox met with Hillsborough Mayor Joseph Tricarico and
Assemblyman Peter Biondi in October, the process required didn't leave
enough time for the state to fund the purchase before the bankruptcy
hearings began. At the meeting, the Hillsborough representatives urged
the state to take over the airport to prevent it from falling into the
hands of developers.
On Nov. 18, Bankruptcy Judge William Gindin ruled that the state
could not purchase the rights to the land because of the claims against
it, but that decision was overturned by U.S. District Judge Garret Brown
when Central Jersey Regional Airport secured a $4.6 million loan from
PMJ Capital Corp. of Greenwich, Conn. The loan was labeled a "bridge
loan," covering the interim until the state funding comes through in
about two months.
According to Mr. Horner, the actions have allowed the airport to pay
off the Pizzo and Pizzo note, and begin looking to make improvements to
the airport. He said his company has been unable to make improvements to
the hangars and other facilities of the airport because of the
"I guess everyone was a little concerned about the airport, about
whether or not we had a future," he said.
The airport has been in business for about 50 years after its
founding by Charles Kupper. The Kupper family sold the business when it
declared bankruptcy, and Mr. Horner and his business partner, Steve
Richards, have operated the airport since 1996.
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