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Judge signals that trustee for bankrupt Mont. co-op could remain in place despite objections

By Matthew Brown
The Republic

BILLINGS, Montana — A federal judge said Wednesday that he was reluctant to remove a court-appointed trustee pushing for the reorganization of a bankrupt Montana power cooperative.

Members of Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission are seeking to oust trustee Lee Freeman and liquidate the troubled co-op. That would let thousands of customers largely off the hook for an $85 million loan used to build the little-used Highwood power plant near Great Falls — a scenario that Freeman says ignores Southern Montana's obligation to its lenders.

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