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Just another day in bankruptcy court

LandSource, owner of Newhall Land, requests more time

Posted: July 1, 2008 1:43 a.m.
Updated: September 1, 2008 5:01 a.m.
 
The Newhall Land and Farming Co. and 20 other debtors listed in a bankruptcy petition filed earlier this month by LandSource Communities Development LLC are settling in for a long court case.

On Monday, lawyers representing LandSource returned to U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in Wilmington to request that the courts continue to allow the lights to stay on at the various companies it owns.

LandSource spokeswoman Tamara Taylor informed The Signal that the company's return to court Monday was uneventful and dealt mainly with "all administrative issues."

On June 8, LandSource Communities Development LLC, owner of Newhall Land, filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Delaware court.

Two days later, LandSource succeeded in getting most of the things its lawyers had asked for, including permission to access $35 million to carry on its day-to-day operation and an order from the court advising utilities not to shut off power to the company's various subsidiaries.

One of those subsidiaries is longtime Santa Clarita land developer Newhall Land.

"LandSource is just working through the issues," Newhall Land spokeswoman Marlee Lauffer said Monday.
"It was all administrative stuff today," she said, commenting on Monday's court case on the East Coast and pointing out that there are court dates scheduled for LandSource leading into September.

One of the documents presented in court Monday asks the judge to issue an interim order "prohibiting the utility companies from altering, refusing or discontinuing services."

LandSource and its 21 listed debtors, collectively, paid about three dozen utilities - water, electricity, trash collection, cable, gas - more than $168,000 a month in the past year, according to court documents filed Monday.

Other firms tied to LandSource are expected to also continue operating as usual as the case unfolds.
MacFarland Partners, Warehouse Realtor Investors and CalPERS own 68 percent of LandSource collectively, while Lennar Corp. and LNR Property Corp. each own a 16 percent share of the company.

"We're kind of sitting back and watching what happens," said Clark McKinley, spokesman for CalPERS.
"It's in a long-term mode," he said Monday. "These court cases usually take months to play out."
Meanwhile, CalPERS is "still assessing the housing" market, he said.

LandSource, which plans and develops master-planned communities and transforms land into ready-to-build home sites and commercial properties in Arizona, California, Florida, New Jersey, Nevada and Texas, had attempted for several months to reach agreement with its lenders to restructure its debt. LandSource defaulted on loan payments due April 22.

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