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Judge approves Riverhounds soccer team’s bankruptcy plan |

Judge approves Riverhounds soccer team’s bankruptcy plan

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds professional soccer team and the South Side stadium where it plays will be out of bankruptcy by the end of the year, a federal judge decided Friday.

Terrance C. “Tuffy” Shallenberger, the majority owner of both companies that own the team and stadium, said the ruling clears the way for the Riverhounds to put together a team for next season.

“We’re a lot happier today than we were yesterday,” he said.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jeffery A. Deller approved reorganization plans that will transfer ownership of the team and stadium to new companies that Shallenberger will form Dec. 30.

Pittsburgh Pro Soccer LLC will own the team and City View Event Center LLC will own the stadium.

Jason Kutney, the Riverhounds’ CEO, said they’ve been working behind the scenes to line up players and hire a coach.

“With the plans for the team and the stadium confirmed, we’re off and running,” he said. “There’s no better way of putting it than we’re back to work.”

A group of minority owners in both companies withdrew its objections to the plan during the hearing.

A feasibility study predicts that the team will lose $750,000 in 2015 and $284,000 in 2016 but make a profit of $130,000 in 2017. The turnaround is mainly driven by a planned expansion of the Riverhounds’ development academy and its summer academy camps.

A similar study of the stadium predicts it will lose money during the next three years with the deficits ranging from $25,000 to $71,000.

David Ross, an attorney for Shallenberger, said the studies are worst-case scenarios. Shallenberger agreed: “It’s all going to depend on sponsorship, which we are going to aggressively pursue.”

Another of Shallenberger’s companies, Shallenberger Investments, has agreed to subsidize the team and the stadium for at least three years, said John Steiner, the attorney handling the bankruptcies for the companies.

“They’ve got three years to turn things around,” he said.

Shallenberger Investments already loaned the companies more than $2 million in 2013 and 2014 to keep them running before they filed for bankruptcy and has loaned them $1.6 million more during the bankruptcy, according to court documents.

Both companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March.

Trib Total Media Inc. was one of the 10 unsecured debtors who unanimously voted to approve the plan. The Riverhounds owe the company $162.25, according to court documents.

Staff writer Matt Grubba contributed to this report. Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or [email protected].

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