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Trustee is fired from co-op case

Richard Ecke, Great Falls Tribune

In a startling development Tuesday, a federal judge has fired the trustee running a bankrupt Billings-based cooperative.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ralph B. Kirscher ruled the appointment of Lee A. Freeman of Livingston as trustee of the Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative “is terminated, effective immediately.”
One of the four rural co-op members of Southern Montana, Fergus Electric of Lewistown, asked Freeman be removed after the four members finally agreed among themselves that Southern Montana should be liquidated. One official from the Red Lodge-based Beartooth co-op, Arleen Boyd, earlier told the Tribune Freeman’s firing was a “long shot,” but it happened.
“Debtor is restored to possession and management of the property of the estate and and of the operation of the debtor’s business,” Kirscher wrote in a memorandum of decision filed Tuesday afternoon in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Montana.

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