Judge Keeps Zelenka Nursery Open

September 12, 2003
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GRAND HAVEN — A federal judge’s order forcing creditors to release cash so Zelenka Nursery Inc. can resume operations gives owners an opportunity arrange for the company’s sale.

Tom Ablum, chairman of the board for Zelenka, is optimistic the wholesale nursery can still arrange for the sale of the business to a buyer who remains interested. In light of the order last week from the federal bankruptcy judge, Ablum hopes the four banks that sought to liquidate Zelenka Nursery will play along.

“It’s in everybody’s best interests to cooperate,” Ablum said last week. “We are looking at the method that will preserve the company and the employees’ jobs, (and) hope it’s the one the court will approve.”

The Sept. 10 order from Judge Jack Schmetterer, of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago, enabled Zelenka Nursery to resume operations and begin recalling workers. The order provided Zelenka Nursery the funding needed to pay workers and suppliers through Oct. 4.

Schmetterer scheduled another hearing for Sept. 30.

Zelenka Nursery ceased operations Sept. 3, putting as many as 1,000 people out of work. The company claims its senior lending group, consisting of four banks, pulled cash from its bank accounts and ordered all assets turned over for liquidation.

Schmetterer’s order states that having the banks release the funds Zelenka needs “is necessary to prevent a disorderly termination or disruption of its business,” and to permit Zelenka to pay employees and “to attempt to achieve a successful reorganization of its business operations for the best interest of all parties.”

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