Menominee Nation Arena defaults on mortgage

Posted on Aug 12, 2019 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
Posted by of Insight Publications

Bayland Buildings Inc. is asking a Winnebago County judge to appoint a receiver to oversee the finances and operations of Fox Valley Pro Basketball Inc., which manages the Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh.

In the court filing, Bayland, which was the building’s general contractor, says the arena’s owner has no cash and defaulted on a $13.2 million mortgage it holds on outstanding debt from the construction of the $21.5 million arena. The arena is home to the Wisconsin Herd, the Milwaukee Bucks’ G-League basketball team, and the Wisconsin GLO, which won the GWBA Championship on Sunday.

In its lawsuit, Hobart-based Bayland said Greg Pierce, president of Fox Valley Pro Basketball, frequently misrepresented the organization’s financial condition and failed several times to live up to its agreements to pay Bayland since the arena opened in November 2017. Bayland said in its court filing that Pierce provided investors with false financial information to raise money and the organization has no cash and owes money to several creditors, including the Milwaukee Bucks.

If a judge appoints a receiver, he or she would take control of all Fox Valley Pro Basketball’s property, assets and liabilities; work with creditors to pay bills and secure the necessary financial investment to keep the building open; and find a new owner for the arena.

After Fox Valley Pro Basketball struggled to make payments on its construction debt, Bayland received the property’s $13.2 million mortgage in May 2018, according to the lawsuit. Bayland reportedly looked into filing a construction lien before that against the organization but couldn’t do so since the property is owned by the city’s Redevelopment Authority and state law does not allow a lien against public property.

Last week, Eric Hoopman, owner of Black Teak Properties, also filed a lawsuit against Fox Valley Pro Basketball saying the organization defaulted on a $1 million promissory note. Hoopman was one of 75 investors who provided financial support for the project. As of May 1, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Fox Valley Pro Basketball raised $19.7 million from investors but was still trying to raise another $7.4 million.