After seeking to have payments blocked by a judge, Oshkosh, WI officials have agreed to pay the owner of Menominee Nation Arena a portion of tax incentives.
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. The $21.5 million arena opened in 2017 and, as part of the project, 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.
The firm has since run into legal and financial issues, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. Oshkosh asked a federal judge earlier this month to block its first payment to FVPB, contending that it had 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.
However, the two sides have reached an agreement that will see Oshkosh pay a portion of the incentives, as city officials confirmed late last week. As part of the agreement, Oshkosh will pay FVPB $393,000 of $438,000 in incentives. Oshkosh city manager Mark Rohloff explained that the payment will be made to help ensure continued operations of the arena. More from the Oshkosh Northwestern:
Rohloff said the city agreed to make the payment because officials want the arena to continue operating and to keep the Milwaukee Bucks’ G-League affiliate the Wisconsin Herd in Oshkosh.
“The City is hopeful that the Arena’s financial issues will be resolved, and we will continue to work to facilitate the successful operation of the arena,” Rohloff said in a statement. “The city of Oshkosh recognizes the positive impact the Wisconsin Herd and other events held at the Menominee Nation Area have on the Oshkosh community, and we believe this settlement will allow us to continue our plans for the Sawdust District.”
Fox Valley Pro Basketball filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August, just days after Bayland Buildings Inc., the Hobart-based contractor that built the arena, sued the Oshkosh-based company, saying it had defaulted on its $13.2 million mortgage.
The city’s agreement to pay the tax incentive is included in a financing proposal filed Friday in bankruptcy court that seeks the judge’s authorization of a $300,000 revolving loan from Two Willows LLC to keep the arena operating during bankruptcy. The De Pere-based company holds a $1.3 million second mortgage on the arena.
Oshkosh will retain a portion of the payment it owed to FVPB, including about $20,000 for utilities and security services and roughly $25,000 for legal costs