PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Unsecured creditors are trying to force a McMinnville-based airline into involuntary bankruptcy, even as the company’s CEO says he still has plans to save it.

The New York creditors filed a summons Thursday under Chapter 7 of the U.S. bankruptcy code, requiring Evergreen International Airlines Inc. to answer a petition entered the previous day, The Oregonian reported (http://is.gd/vN3B4H ).

The company has extensive agricultural holdings in the Willamette Valley.

Two hotels seek more than $440,000 for lodging Evergreen crew members, and a plowing company wants $25,000 for clearing snow from Evergreen cargo jets at a New York airport.

The case was filed Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Numerous creditors have sued the airline, which flew its last flight Dec. 2. The company once operated a global fleet of Boeing 747 cargo jets.

“Unfortunately they are not paying their debts as they come due in the normal course of business,” said Kenneth Reynolds, an attorney at McBreen & Kopko in Jericho, N.Y. Reynolds entered the filing.

Company founder and CEO Delford Smith told the newspaper he wasn’t aware of the Chapter 7 filing.

“I don’t think 7 will work, I think we’ll need 11,” he said, referring to the bankruptcy code’s Chapter 11, which would allow the company to be reorganized instead of liquidated.

Smith said the issues could be settled without a major fight.

“We’re going to perpetuate the company,” he said.

Smith said he planned to wait for the cargo market to turn around before bringing back the airline.

Evergreen has 20 days to respond to the summons.


Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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