- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - A bank has recommended that fairgrounds in Jonesboro be sold after the Craighead County Fair Association filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October.

The Jonesboro Sun (https://bit.ly/1xEMgPf ) reports that Focus Bank suggested liquidation of the property, which is owned by the association, in a March 25 filing. The fair association was left in $10 million worth of debt after relocating to a new site and constructing a larger complex.

Judy Simmons Henry and Kimberly Wood Tucker, attorneys for Focus Bank, proposed in a creditor’s Chapter 11 Plan of Liquidation that the 78-acre new fairground complex be listed with a real estate company for up to 150 days. A public auction is suggested if the property is not sold or is under contract after that period has expired. According to the plan, all proceeds from the sale of the old fairgrounds would go to the bank, and money from the sale of the new complex would go to contractors.

The association owed more than $6 million money to Focus Bank, which financed the move, when it filed for bankruptcy. The association owes contractors for the new complex more than $3.4 million. The new fairgrounds, now known as the Northeast Arkansas Exposition and Conference Center, are valued around $22 million.

Michael Cureton, fair board president, said the board still hopes to avoid a liquidation sale. Cureton says that attorneys for the association are working on a plan that would pay back money that is owed to creditors and keep the fair operational.

“I think, given a chance, everything will work out, but it just depends on other people giving us a chance to make it work,” Cureton said.

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Information from: The Jonesboro Sun, https://www.jonesborosun.com

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