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New partner steps in to help Northern Lights stay in business

New partner steps in to help Northern Lights stay in business

A concert company has thrown a lifeline to Northern Lights, which last month lost its bankruptcy cou

A concert company has thrown a lifeline to Northern Lights, which last month lost its bankruptcy court protection.

The Clifton Park nightclub will temporarily close as it reorganizes into a new corporation backed by a partner whom Northern Lights owner J. Kip Finck would not identify Wednesday. Finck said he is refurbishing the North Country Commons nightclub and he expects to reopen it in another two weeks.

Northern Lights’ Web site states that the battle of the bands event slated for last Wednesday has been rescheduled for Feb. 4.

“We’re merging with a concert company. We just finalized all the details last night, and we’re forming a new corporation with a couple of different concert companies,” Finck said.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Littlefield in Albany threw out Northern Lights’ Chapter 11 reorganization case in December for the second time in three months. Littlefield first booted the nightclub in September after a creditor complained about not receiving a payment, but he quickly reversed his dismissal after the creditor realized that it had received that money on time.

On Dec. 4, Littlefield again dismissed the Chapter 11 case because Northern Lights neither filed operating reports for October and September nor paid trustee fees in a timely manner.

The Northern Lights merger marks the latest twist in the nightclub’s nearly year-long effort to keep rocking. It filed for bankruptcy protection last Valentine’s Day.

Northern Lights’ reorganization effort in bankruptcy court has experienced a series of hiccups. The nightclub temporarily closed in June after a malfunctioning beer cooler sparked a fire. It reopened in July.

During the bankruptcy proceedings, Northern Lights’ lease expired and it obtained a lease extension. The extension granted Finck time to negotiate the terms for a less costly space at the Route 146 shopping center. To receive that extension, North Country Commons’ landlord demanded that Northern Lights provide a $30,000 security deposit.

The lease extension terms and fire repairs became financially draining for Northern Lights. It had “insufficient cash flow to book all of its shows and must rely on promoters who reap the benefit of the ticket sales for the show and the debtor’s name and reputation,” Northern Lights attorney Richard Weiskopf said in an Oct. 31 court motion.

Weiskopf did not identify which promoters propped up the nightclub. Under that operating arrangement, Northern Lights “only received rent and income from food and beverage sales,” according to court documents.

Northern Lights’ financial woes erupted last January when the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers seized $61,500 of the nightclub’s funds.

The seizure, which prompted the Chapter 11 filing, came 16 months after a U.S. District Court judge in Albany ordered Northern Lights to pay $48,000 in damages and penalties to a member of ASCAP, a New York-based performing rights licensing organization. The judgement stemmed from a copyright infringement lawsuit.

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