Sunday, March 15, 2009

Curtains down for Baltimore Opera Company

Sadly, "you know who" sang for the Baltimore Opera after 58 years. I've been following the bankruptcy of the Baltimore Opera since they filed on December 9th. Just last week, I checked to see if they had filed a plan of reorganization. When I saw that it was still delayed, I feared the worst. While a chapter 11 is never the best option, it gives a debtor a chance to start over. Yesterday, I learned from my reader Charles Myers it's all over for the Baltimore Opera, as chapter 7 is on the horizon.

While papers haven't been filed yet with the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, the Board of Trustees of the Baltimore Opera Company has voted to convert their bankruptcy reorganization to a chapter 7 liquidation, as reported on Friday by Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun. Once the Court approves the conversion, a chapter 7 trustee will be appointed to liquidate the estate. There's always a chance that new parties could move in and purchase the entire company for a new start, but unfortunately this is probably only a dream.

A new bar date will be established by which creditors must prove that they have a claim against the company. Knowing what I know, I wouldn't hold my breath on getting my claim paid anytime soon. Once the appointed chapter 7 trustee determines if there are assets and can liquidate them, the process is long and drawn out. Chapter 7 creditors often receive very little return, usually only a fraction of a pro rata distribution. Depending on the size of the estate, it could take years, i.e. I'm currently working on the final distribution to creditors of a debtor that filed in 1998.

I'll check back in with an update after the chapter 7 trustee has been appointed, in case I can be helpful to any of you dear readers who may have a claim. In the meantime, if you have questions, you can contact the Office of the Baltimore, Maryland office of the U.S. Trustee at (410) 962-4300.

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