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Sue Guinn Legg

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Storytelling Center granted extension for reorganization plan

September 21st, 2011 8:39 am by Sue Guinn Legg

GREENEVILLE — The International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough has been granted an extension of next week’s deadline to file a reorganization plan in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Judge Marcia Parsons on Tuesday granted the ISC’s motion to extend its period of exclusivity and Sept. 28 deadline to file a reorganization plan until Dec. 31.
The center requested the extension to allow more time to prepare a “viable” reorganization plan based on a pending court determination of the value of its property and to allow it to negotiate or to have the court determine the value of the USDA’s Rural Development agency’s secured claim on the property.
The motion also cited a need for the ISC staff to focus on planning and production of the annual Storytelling Festival coming up Oct. 6-9. The festival traditionally produces about 60 percent of the ISC’s annual revenue.
Jimmy Neil Smith, the ISC’s president and founder, said Tuesday both determinations are needed for the ISC to prepare the reorganization plan.
The ISC won a similar 120-day extension of its exclusivity period and reorganization plan deadline in April after requesting more time to resolve conflicts in its partnership contracts with the National Storytelling Network.
NSN has since withdrawn its objection to the ISC’s rejection of the partnership contracts that required the ISC to pay NSN 18 percent of the festival’s proceeds and agreed to allow ISC to retain 100 percent of proceeds from this year festival. NSN continues to defend its co-ownership of the festival, citing “intellectual property” ownership rights it contends are not affected by bankruptcy proceedings.
The ISC filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December, citing its large financial obligation on the construction of the ISC building in 2002, several years of declining festival attendance and the difficult economy.
Last month, Smith said the ISC had budgeted conservatively for this year’s festival in anticipation of conditions that could negatively impact attendance, including a “still troubling economy,” high gasoline prices and the impact of the bankruptcy proceedings.
On Tuesday, Smith said pre-registration for this year’s festival has been in keeping with the ISC’s earlier revenue projections.
“We usually have about half pre-register and half register during the festival. We have a little more than two weeks to the festival and it all looks pretty good,” he said.

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