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Bankruptcy talk on hold at PLJ

By Tony de Garate

Contributor

Bankruptcy could still be a possibility for Promote La Jolla even though the group’s skeletal leadership skipped a scheduled discussion of the matter at its July 14 meeting.

The embattled group, which meets monthly with a board of directors that has been reduced from 16 to its current five over the last year, had planned to discuss bankruptcy if the city ultimately sues to recover $112,000. The city had threatened to sue by May 10 but has extended the deadline to allow settlement negotiations, PLJ President Rick Wildman said.

The discussion was canceled because of the absence of two of the five directors and because negotiations are continuing, Wildman said. “There’s hope that negotiations might be fruitful,” he said.

Wildman said he couldn’t comment on the progress of the negotiations or what role PLJ’s insurance carriers could play in a settlement. But he said bankruptcy could be in play as a way to consolidate debts if a settlement is not achieved.

“Promote La Jolla is upside down,” Wildman said.

Once PLJ resolves its legal issues with the city, it will address its other debtors, which include ConVIS, a publishing company and the city’s Business Improvement District Council. If PLJ gets access to $28,000 in BID assessments the city has withheld since May of 2009, these debts could be reduced to less than $50,000, Wildman said.

He also disclosed that PLJ had authorized declaring bankruptcy on June 29, the date before a hearing on a lawsuit by the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation to cancel the Fourth of July fireworks. Since PLJ had been named one of the plaintiffs, declaring bankruptcy would have been a strategy to save the fireworks since the action would have halted any court proceedings, Wildman said. But the pro-bono attorney was out of town that day, so the action was aborted.

“It turned out to be a good thing” because the judge ruled in favor of allowing the fireworks, Wildman said.