Legal fallout from financial issues surrounding the owner of Menominee Nation Arena continues, as the City of Oshkosh is seeking to block $430,000 in payments to the company.
Fox Valley Pro Basketball (FVPB) owns and manages the arena, which is used by the Wisconsin Herd–an NBA G League team owned by the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks–and hosts other events. Amidst financial issues and lawsuits against the company, FVPB filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month.
Menominee Nation Arena was completed at a cost of $21.5 million in 2017, with the privately financed venue intended to serve as the anchor of a larger redevelopment initiative. As part of the funding arrangement, FVPB agreed to front related infrastructure costs, which would be backed through tax incentives from the city generated in a tax increment financing (TIF) district.
Earlier this month, the city asked a federal judge to block payments of $430,000 to FVPB. In its motion filed September 6, the city contended that FVPB violated its development agreement through late property tax payments, while misrepresenting its financial situation and owing the city over $20,000 for special event costs (such as police and fire protection), utilities, and other expenses before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. More from the Oshkosh Northwestern:
Even before the bankruptcy, city leaders said they had no intention of making the payments because they said the company violated its development agreement by not paying its property taxes on time.
Jerome Kerkman, an attorney representing Fox Valley Pro Basketball in the bankruptcy case, previously said the city never told the company it violated the agreement and therefore still owes the company the payments.
But according to city documents the Oshkosh Northwestern obtained through a public records request, City Manager Mark Rohloff told Fox Valley Pro Basketball President Greg Pierce in a Feb. 8 email that the company had missed the tax deadline.
“I have an obligation to inform Council about this,” Rohloff wrote. “I will provide Council with a memo when they meet … at which time it will increase public awareness. I would like to try and avoid this.”
As part of the agreement on the TIF district, Oshkosh is to begin making payments on November 1. No decision has been made on the motion, with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brett Ludwig left to decide how to handle the dispute.