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Woodbury Sheraton owner out of bankruptcy

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The owner of the Woodbury Sheraton Hotel and Aperitif Restaurant is out of bankruptcy, but whether or not the restaurant will re-open remains a question.

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Real estate developer and St. Paul-based JLT Group owner Jerry Trooien finalized a plan to reorganize his properties and pay creditors. The creditors voted in favor of the plan and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved it.

According to court documents, there are nine holdings that Trooien is trying to keep, including the Sheraton Hotel and the building that houses Aperitif.

Trooien will now have to share earnings with creditors on a 50-50 basis for six of the entities and regain three without any additional obligations.

Properties that went back to Trooein are not considered of significant value, according to the plan. The Sheraton and Aperitif are among those he must share with creditors over the next few years.

"This is a complicated plan that was worked out between him and the creditors," said Trooien's attorney, James Baillie of the Fredrikson & Byron law firm in Minneapolis. "It was voted on by the creditors and they voted to accept it, almost unanimously, and as a result we have a practical business solution to a complex problem."

The plan deals with all of Trooien's properties and assets. Some will be liquidated for the benefit of creditors, and others will go back to him for a price.

Steven DeRuyter, of the Leonard, Street & Deinard law firm in Minneapolis, represents the unsecured creditors in the case. He said Trooien will continue to own and operate the hotel, which never reverted to the lender.

Aperitif, on the other hand, is in foreclosure at this time and Trooien will have to win over its lender in order to keep the building.

The amount Trooien owes adds up to millions of dollars, according to court documents.

"It was estimated in the disclosure statement at $90 to $100 million," DeRuyter said. "There are other numbers but that's really where it came down to."

Aperitif closed its doors earlier this year -- about a month after JLT Group's offices were raided by the FBI in an alleged fraud investigation.

But staff at the Sheraton Hotel said the closure of Aperitif was not related to the FBI investigation.

Trooien has not been criminally charged since the FBI's search of his offices.

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Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir has been a reporter/ photographer with the Woodbury Bulletin since 2011. She covers Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news around the city. Riham holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked for two other Forum Communications newspapers in Central Minnesota. Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.
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