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Mega Fest#039;s bankruptcy hearing continued

ASHLAND, Ky -- A U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee Monday afternoon continued a creditor's hearing for the Tri-State Mega Fair and Festival Corporation until next month.

Trustee Phaedra Spradlin granted the continuance so that William Palmer, attorney for Mega Fest and its co-president, Rick Clark, could produce a signed bankruptcy petition and other necessary documents.

"We didn't have a hard copy of the petition that shows Mr. Clark's signature on it," Palmer said. "I was not aware until I got here that I needed it. This is so he can physically affirm that it is his signature."

Spradlin also asked Palmer to provide sales receipts from the bankrupt festival. During the brief meeting, Spradlin asked Clark why the festival failed. Clark attributed the failure to rain and low turnout, something he repeated after the hearing to news reporters.

"The committee worked hard on the festival. Rain and low turnout are the reasons we're here today," Clark said. "We tried really hard for our city and it just didn't work out."

The creditors' hearing was to allow people who are owed money for services or work performed to ask to be excluded from the bankruptcy ruling. It did not appear that any creditors attended the Monday hearing.

Palmer said he expects to tie up loose ends at the continuance Sept. 15. After that, he expects a discharge order to be issued within 45 days showing that the debts listed have been discharged.

The Mega Fest organizers are due back in court at 1 p.m. Sept. 15 for the continuance of the creditors hearing.

The festival organizers filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection July 2, approximately a month after the festival closed. The Mega Fest was originally advertised as a five-day event, June 4 through 8, but was ended a day early after poor attendance and heavy rains left organizers scrambling to pay many of the acts.

The corporation's bankruptcy petition listed assets of $2,921 and liabilities totaling $220,628. However, the total may actually be higher because seven of the 33 creditors owed list an unknown amount of debt.

While some of the bigger musical acts, including Trick Pony, Joe Nichols and Jennifer Hanson, were paid, many of the other performers were only paid a fraction of what they were owed.

MacKay Marketing & Entertainment, of Bridgewater, Mass., filed a suit June 23 in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court, seeking $106,295 in damages as well as a jury trial for the case. The suit cites breach of contract, interference with contractual and business relationships, fraud in the inducement and other complaints that have allegedly damaged owner Gordon MacKay's ability to do business.

Event organizers Clark, Gary Stevens and Casey Kerns, both of whom were on the board of directors, listed themselves as investors and cited losses of more than $86,000.

The Ironton Police Department and the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office are two of the creditors listed as unknowns. These departments reported that they were owed $4,820. Several other creditors declined to comment on specific

amounts, but said the debts were substantial.

Rodney Wright of R & R Tent Rental in Wheelersburg was one of the creditors named in the bankruptcy petition. He is listed as being owed $8,584.89, but said it may be closer to $10,000.