Two More APPCO Stores Closed, More Expected

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. -- APPCO owner Sunshine Energy -- which is embroiled in a battle with former APPCO owner Jim MacLean over the 28 store properties he still owns -- recently closed two APPCO stores, the Johnson City Press reported.

Sunshine Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy June 10, days after MacLean's Management Properties Inc. (MPI) began repossessing some of the properties it owns. By June 10, 12 of the company's 47 stores were closed and have been since.

These latest store closures came shortly after Bankruptcy Judge Marcia Parsons ruled last week that MacLean could repossess nine more stores (including a half-dozen in the Johnson City area) that had been protected by Sunshine's bankruptcy filing. That decision followed Parsons' June 24 refusal to let Sunshine reopen the 12 stores MPI had closed between June 2 and June 9, and also applied to stores the state courts had ruled before June 10 could be repossessed.

For its part, MPI has filed a motion to have the entire bankruptcy case ruled as a "bad faith filing," contending Sunshine only filed to prevent repossession of the stores. There are no other creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing, according to the news report.

Former APPCO CEO Jeff Benedict, who still works with MacLean, said MPI hadn't closed the additional stores yet because of another court delay. "We got those writs issued, [and] then Sunshine filed a motion asking to have them set aside so that we could not execute them," Benedict told the newspaper. A court hearing on that motion is set for today.

Sunshine, headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., shuttered APPCO store No. 11 Wednesday of last week and removed the pumps the next day, the owner of a store located next door said.

A call to Sunshine's headquarters was patched through to a man who identified himself only by his first name and said: "We're not commenting on this right now," the newspaper reported.

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