Sunshine Shutters Two Appcos

Judge rules landlord can repossess nine more stores protected by bankruptcy filing

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- A landlord that has closed 12 Appco convenience stores got U.S. Bankruptcy Court permission to close another nine last week, reported The Johnson City Press, but Appco's owner beat it to the punch by closing two of the stores.

Appco owner Sunshine Energy, embroiled in a battle with former Appco owner Jim MacLean over the 28 store properties he still owns, last week closed Appco No. 11 in Johnson City, Tenn., and Appco No. 40 in Elizabethton, Tenn., said the report.

Sunshine Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy June 10, days after [image-nocss] MacLean's Management Properties Inc. (MPI) began repossessing some of the properties it owns. By June 10, 12 of the company's 47 stores were closed, and have been since.

The latest closures came shortly after Bankruptcy Judge Marcia Parsons ruled last week that MacLean could repossess nine more stores (including a half-dozen in the Johnson City area) that had been protected by Sunshine's bankruptcy filing. That decision followed on Parsons' June 24 refusal to let Sunshine reopen the 12 stores MPI had closed between June 2 and June 9, and applied to stores that state courts had ruled before June 10 could be repossessed.

For its part, MPI has filed a motion to have the entire bankruptcy case as a "bad faith filing," contending Sunshine only filed to prevent repossession of the stores, the report said. There are no other creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing.

Jeff Benedict, a former Appco CEO who still works with MacLean, said MPI had not closed the nine additional stores yet because of yet another court delay. "We got those writs issued, then Sunshine filed a motion asking to have them set aside so that we could not execute them," he told the newspaper. That motion is set for a hearing Thursday

The additional stores slated for closure include No. 11 and No. 40, two other stores in Johnson City, two stores in Gray and one each in Boones Creek, Roan Mountain and Mountain City.

Sunshine shuttered Appco No. 11 last Wednesday and removed the pumps the next day, the owner of the store located next door told the paper.

Rick Jones, the regional manager over Sunshine's former Appco stores, told the Johnson City Press on Tuesday that he was not allowed to discuss any of the closures.

An unidentified person at Sunshine Energy's headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas, told the paper that the company was "not commenting on this right now."

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