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BREAKING: Lender to sell Premier properties

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An auction this month could strip locally based Premier Properties USA Inc. of most of its real estate holdings.

Atlanta-based Dominion Capital Management LLC - one of Premier's largest lenders - plans to auction ownership interests in eight properties on April 17 at the Indianapolis offices of law firm Ice Miller LLP. Dominion plans to sell Metropolis mall in Plainfield separately.

Dominion is selling the properties to collect on loans that exceed $100 million.

Successful bidders would have to shoulder debts owed to other creditors after taking ownership, said Ice Miller attorney Henry A. Efroymson, who is organizing the sale.

The auction properties include the Plainfield Commons strip center and a parcel at 86th Street and Haverstick Road where another developer had proposed a Whole Foods. The auction also will include a ground lease on 44 acres in Las Vegas and several lifestyle malls in various stages of development: Sixteen West in Georgia; Bridgewater Falls in Ohio; The Foundry in Pennsylvania; The Marquis in Virginia; and The Current in Florida.

Dominion has taken ownership of the 600,000-square-foot Metropolis outdoor mall in Plainfield until it finds a buyer, Efroymson said.

Premier and its founder, Christopher P. White, face scores of lawsuits
alleging unpaid bills, defaulted loans, illegally redirected rent payments and check fraud. The company laid off half of its headquarters staff - about 40 employees - at the end of March.

The sale of Premier's real estate holdings could signal that an end is near for the 15-year-old company, which
built its name on outsize deals with little margin for error but has sputtered since credit markets tightened and easy credit disappeared.

"If these sales go through on the 17th, Chris White's ownership interest will have been transferred away from him and he will no longer have the legal right to control those entities," Efroymson said.

Dominion revealed its plan for an auction in an advertisement in The Wall Street Journal this morning.

White did not return an e-mail message this afternoon. His attorneys also could not be reached.

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