GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (From the Green Bay Press Gazette) - A Chicago company's $176 million reorganization plan for Green Box NA Green Bay would pay nearly $14 million in unpaid taxes and debts to untangle founder Ron Van Den Heuvel's web of lawsuits and unpaid bills.
GlenArbor LLC, an investor in Green Box, has spearheaded efforts to pull the De Pere-based company out of bankruptcy since Van Den Heuvel sought protection from creditors in April 2016. Its plan calls for the creation of a new company that would secure the equipment, intellectual property and money needed to operate a complex system for recycling waste that typically ends up in landfills.
Green Box and two related companies under the new company's umbrella, Reclamation Technology Systems and PC Fibre Technology LLC, would provide the equipment, technology, know-how, space and materials needed to convert food-contaminated paper products, plastics, tires and other materials into sanitized raw materials suitable for making new products.
Van Den Heuvel would retain an ownership stake in the revived venture, but he would not be involved in the company's management, according to a reorganization plan filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
When Green Box filed for bankruptcy, Van Den Heuvel listed less than $50,000 in assets and more than $10 million in debt. The company had been the subject of a string of lawsuits from unpaid creditors, including the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
He is also scheduled for trial in July on federal bank fraud charges. Van De Heuvel, his wife, Kelly, and a banker are accused of a scheme in which they used employees and relatives to borrow more than $1 million from Horicon Bank in 2008 and 2009. The bank claimed it lost more than $750,000 on the loans.
"They got everything pretty well lined up but it's been so difficult because of everything swirling around it," Green Box bankruptcy attorney Paul Swanson said. "It's a great concept and I think we've demonstrated it could go and really be successful."
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Beth Hanan laid out the terms of the reorganization in a Feb. 17 court filing. GlenArbor still has to secure funding to pay off claimants and launch the operation before the case can formally be resolved.
GlenArbor's Stephen A. Smith declined to comment until the agreement is made official. Van Den Heuvel also declined to comment.
Under the reorganization plan, Van Den Heuvel would retain ownership of 6.35 percent of Green Box and a 55.6 percent of Reclamation Technology Systems.
Green Box would focus on operating, servicing and selling machines that convert plastics and used tires into oil, black carbon, synthetic gas and other re-usable materials through a process called pyrolysis. Reclamation Technology Systems sorts and processes food contaminated waste to create pulp, tissue and other products. PC Fibre Technology owns the patent for that process.
Green Box would have a 30 percent stake in the new company created to bring together the disparate parts of the businesses. Green Box would use its share of the profits and revenue from pyrolysis operations to pay off nearly $1.1 million in unsecured claims against Green Box.
GlenArbor owns 3.75 percent of Green Box and 25.8 percent of RTS.
The bulk of the $176 million sought to fund the new company would build a new sorting facility, expand existing operations, connect various parts of the operation, pay off creditors and ramp up operations.
If financing can be secured, the new company has agreed to pay:
»$605,000 in delinquent property, payroll and unemployment taxes Green Box owed to county, state and federal agencies.
»$13.1 million to secured claimants owed a total of $24.3 million, and
»$270,000 in legal fees and other administrative expenses.
In exchange for the payments, investors agreed to give up claims to various machinery Van Den Heuvel offered as collateral to secure financing from various sources and transfer it to RTS and Green Box. The equipment is needed to operate the new company.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. would receive $650,000 in exchange for giving up its security interest in some of the equipment in question, but it also agreed to defer repayment of the $1.1 million loan WEDC gave Green Box. The new company would assume responsibility for the loan.
The new company faces a March 31 deadline to finance all the disparate parts of the operation, though the deadline can be extended into the second quarter if necessary.