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Emergency hearing scheduled for Premier

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A U.S. bankruptcy judge has scheduled an emergency hearing over Premier Properties USA Inc.'s refusal to turn over records concerning its retail properties including Metropolis mall in Plainfield.

The April 28 hearing will address a request by affiliates of Atlanta-based Dominion Capital Management LLC, one of Premier's largest lenders. Dominion took control of Metropolis and most of Premier's other properties earlier this month.

The filing says Metropolis is "operating without appropriate security or utility services" since Premier has not allowed the new property managers access to the mall's offices or its books. It also cites concerns at other Premier properties, including The Marquis in Virginia, Current in Florida and The Foundry in Pennsylvania - a building under "severe structural distress."

Premier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on April 23, narrowly avoiding the appointment of a receiver to take control of the troubled company.

Premier and its founder, Christopher P. White, face numerous lawsuits alleging unpaid bills, defaulted loans and check fraud - trouble that began to mount last year as credit-market turmoil put a stop to easy credit.

In a Chapter 11 filing, the firm that developed Metropolis mall in Plainfield listed 20 creditors owed a total of more than $2.8 million. It did not include millions of dollars in unpaid bills connected to specific properties - including Metropolis, Plainfield Commons and several malls in other states - that the company no longer controls.

Premier has not provided a list of its own assets, although the filing says the total will range between $1 million and $10 million.

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