Lots of Folks Object to Blockbuster's Store Closure Plan. Like Dallas County, For Starters.

As you'll recall, Blockbuster ended the year by announcing it's looking over all its leases and planning on breaking many of them, after which it'll shutter stores, dump inventory for pennies on the dollar and turn over the cash to its creditors. According to a Blockbuster filing two weeks ago in Manhattan bankruptcy court, matter of fact, all of its leases should be considered "rejected" -- even the unexpired ones, such as the one in Preston Royal Shopping Center -- unless the company says it's keeping them open by or before a hearing scheduled in a Manhattan courtroom on January 21.

But before that can happen, all comers to whom Blockbuster owes money can file their objections to the proposed plan. And the objections, they are now pouring in. Some are from landlords who don't want their leases broken. As Home Media Magazine points out, Safeway's objecting for a number of reasons -- chief among them, having shuttered Blockbusters next door will lead to the "diminished reputation of its shopping centers."

And earlier today I came across a Monday-morning filing  that said the Carrolton-Farmers Branch and Lewisville ISDs ain't happy with the downtown-based video rentalist's plan because the school disticts have secured tax liens that "take priority" over creditors' claims. According to the claims register, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD is owed some $12,000 in back taxes; Lewisville, more than $20,000.

Which is nothing compared to what Dallas County is claiming it's owed, which is at least $545,701.36 (though, looking at court docs, it may be double that -- hard to tell without talking to one of the county's attorneys). Hence the county's objection filed by downtown attorney Elizabeth Weller -- an objection filed in conjunction with Tarrant County, the Richardson and Irving ISDs and dozens upon dozens of other school districts and counties across the state. Weller's unavailable till tomorrow, and efforts to reach Blockbuster's attorneys have proved unsuccessful.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky