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 Post subject: Lehigh Coal & Navigation Bankruptcy
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:54 pm 
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Creditors file to force LC&N into bankruptcy

BY PETER E. BORTNER
STAFF WRITER
POTTSVILLE REPUBLICAN & HERALD
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co., one of Schuylkill County’s oldest businesses, purportedly owes more than $7 million and has been hauled into bankruptcy court by its creditors.

“They entered into transactions involving substantial dollars,â€

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Last edited by miket145 on Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:30 am 
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Location: Mayflower, the capital of Wilkes- Barre
sad, hopefully the renewed interest in clean coal technology will be just the push the company needs to bring it back from the brink.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:06 am 
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The only thing that would help LC&N is to get different people at the head of the company. The biggest blunder they made was when the rebuilt the greenwood breaker. They would have been much better off doing what Jeddo Highland did and just build a new breaker. Now they have a 40 year old breaker that they dumped millions into and still isn't running.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 12:36 pm 
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Location: Above the Sterling Hill Mine
With the price of Anthracite going up, why are they having money problems? Is it that they can't process it because of the down breaker?

Miner Greg


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:34 pm 
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They are having money problems because the people that are currently running the show aren't coal people. They are still mining the coal, just selling it to different breakers.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 6:21 pm 
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Coal company managers still in charge until next hearing

BY PETER E. BORTNER
STAFF WRITER
POTTSVILLE REPUBLICAN & HERALD
Published: Friday, August 29, 2008

WILKES-BARRE — For another week, Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co.’s current management will continue to operate the company, according to an agreement reached Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

“We have resolved all objections,â€

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:37 am 
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Location: Schuylkill County
they say they want to put Robert Yarger on their management team, i heard he has been pulled out alot of coal on a couple of mine sites he runs on the east end of LCNs property. if anyone could save the company i would put my money on him.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:53 am 
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Your right about that. Robert Yarger understands the business and knows how to run a coal mine. With demand what it is right now if they have somebody at the head of the company who knows what there doing they should be able to turn it around in no time at all.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:41 pm 
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Location: From Schuylkill County, PA living in Phoenix, AZ
Coaldale Energy inept, Lehigh Coal alleges

Suit asking judge to intervene lays bare intrafamily disputes years in making.

By John J. Moser
The Morning Call
September 6, 2008

A historic Schuylkill County coal company is in financial ''dire straits'' because of an inept management company the state appointed to run it ago two years ago over regulatory violations, a company director said in court Friday.

''They never made money,'' Caitlin Curran Hatch of Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co. said of Coaldale Energy. ''They lost money.''

The dispute in U.S. Bankruptcy Court between Lehigh and Coaldale, which runs Lehigh's mining operations in the Panther Valley area, also is pitting generations of owners against each other in what one lawyer called a ''rather nasty family dispute.''

Lehigh's board of directors -- sole stockholder James J. Curran Jr.; his wife, Kathleen, and their daughter Hatch -- is asking a judge for the power to remove Coaldale as operator and replace it or appoint a trustee to run the company.

But that would mean removing James Curran's son, Sean D. Curran, who was picked by Coaldale to be Lehigh's president and chief executive officer, and daughter Sarah Curran Smith, who was picked by Coaldale to be vice president of operations.

Lehigh attorney Lawrence G. McMichael of Philadelphia said Lehigh, a multimillion-dollar-a-year coal operation that is Schuylkill's largest and among the biggest anthracite operations in the country, can no longer afford to have Coaldale at the helm.

''Their management is a disaster,'' he said. ''They're doing a terrible job of running the company. One disaster after another.''

After hours of testimony, Judge John T. Thomas recessed the hearing without ruling. Testimony is scheduled to resume Sept. 17. Coaldale will manage the company until then.

Thomas said he intends to keep the coal company operating.

''I know that if Lehigh doesn't stay open, it has an impact'' on the company's work force, creditors and customers, he said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection, which put Coaldale Energy in charge of Lehigh in 2006, is opposing Coaldale's removal. DEP lawyer Dennis A. Whitaker said in court Friday the agency will withdraw Lehigh's operating permits, shutting it down, if Coaldale goes.

Whitaker argued that only DEP has the authority to remove Coaldale, and doing that would return the company to the people who forced DEP to shut it down.

He called the case a ''rather nasty family dispute'' in which James Curran Jr. has complained from the beginning how badly Coaldale runs the company and Coaldale complains about his interference.

Another son, James J. Curran III, said through his attorney he would not oppose removing Coaldale as long as his father -- who he said removed millions of dollars from a trust to buy company stock -- does not operate the company.

But Hatch testified that while she and her parents have a ''lack of confidence'' in decisions Sean Curran and others with Coaldale make, Lehigh bases its actions on business and not on family feelings.

Coaldale took over running the company in April 2006, after DEP withdrew Lehigh's mining permit, saying the company failed to refill a massive Panther Valley strip mine and didn't post enough bond to ensure the work would be done.

But Hatch testified Friday that Coaldale never achieved any of its goals.

''They didn't come close,'' she said.

Moreover, Hatch said the cash bond deficiency for which DEP shut down Lehigh has significantly increased, despite Coaldale buying a $13 million silt dam that Lehigh mines and gives the proceeds to Coaldale. Testimony showed Coaldale owes Lehigh $1.3 million to $1.4 million.

Hatch said the Currans' fears about Coaldale began soon after it took over and began renovations to a coal processor, or breaker, the cost of which ballooned from $1 million to $4 million by spring 2007, and still doesn't have it operating at capacity.

Finally, in March the Currans decided ''the corporation was in dire straits'' and they had to act.

Whoever ends up controlling Lehigh operations will face an involuntary bankruptcy petition that some company creditors, who say they are owed $7.5 million, filed July 15.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:45 am 
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Location: From Schuylkill County, PA living in Phoenix, AZ
Coal company wants right to change managers

Judge to decide if state can revoke license if leadership is transferred.

By John J. Moser

The Morning Call

October 1, 2008

A historic Schuylkill County coal company wants a federal judge to stop Pennsylvania from revoking its mining license if it replaces a management team the state imposed because of regulatory violations.

Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co. says the managers who took over two years ago under Coaldale Energy are inept.

The company is scheduled back in federal bankruptcy court today after telling the state Department of Environmental Protection it plans to immediately replace Coaldale with an independent management team.

But DEP has said in court it will revoke Lehigh's mining permit, and Lehigh fears DEP would take its security bonds, if Coaldale is dumped. Lehigh's owners, the Curran family, have said those actions would leave the company unable to operate.

Lehigh last week asked federal Judge John T. Thomas, who is hearing its argument that the current team is ruining the company, to grant an immediate injunction against DEP. The deadline for that passed Monday, but Lehigh also has asked for a permanent injunction.

Thomas has said he will rule quickly, perhaps from the bench today, whether the Coaldale team can be replaced.

The case has exposed the struggles of the largest remaining vestige of the anthracite industry. Founded by coal pioneers Josiah White and Erskine Hazard, Lehigh Coal helped lead the Industrial Revolution and still owns 8,000 acres in Carbon and Schuylkill counties.

The case also is revealing a feud over company control, as members of the Curran family -- some of whom own the company and others who run DEP's management team -- blame each other for financial troubles.

In looking to remove Coaldale Energy, Lehigh Coal owner James J. Curran Jr. would displace his son Sean of Bethlehem, whom Coaldale seated as Lehigh's president and chief executive officer, and daughter Sarah Curran Smith, picked to be vice president of operations.

According to court filings, Lehigh on Sept. 22 told DEP it wants to replace Coaldale with John W. Teitz of Pittsburgh, who has overseen financial restructuring of other coal companies. Lehigh says it's ''in discussions'' to refinance the company, but its lawyer says that requires a new management team.

Coaldale took over running the company in April 2006 after DEP withdrew Lehigh's mining permit, saying the company failed to refill a massive Panther Valley strip mine and didn't post enough bond to ensure the work would be done.

Testimony shows Lehigh hasn't turned a profit since.

James Curran and daughter Caitlin Curran Hatch, a Lehigh board member, have blamed Sean Curran and Coaldale, saying they made bad business decisions, including renovations to a coal processor, or breaker, that ballooned to $4 million, and they still don't have it working at capacity.

But at a Sept. 17 hearing, Sean Curran testified that soon after he took over, his father began undermining him and has caused more than $1 million in litigation and ''disruptions whose costs are incalculable.''

He said his father took a board resolution to fire him, then seized a bank account; had another company he owns put liens on Lehigh to seize its revenue; and almost had its power disconnected.

''He never intended to give up control and is resentful he doesn't have that control,'' Sean Curran testified. ''He's been working against Coaldale for two years with a single purpose in mind: to get back control. Â… Any replacement manager is going to have the same problem.''

That's also DEP's argument. DEP lawyer Dennis A. Whitaker has said removing Coaldale would return Lehigh to the people who forced the state to shut it down.

Sean Curran testified his family summoned him from Cincinnati in 2006 to take over Lehigh in the wake of DEP taking the permit. He said that as a condition of his return, his father agreed to return $5.8 million he took from an estate trust over which the father and another son, James Curran III, are in litigation.

Sean Curran said he found the company ''struggling to operate,'' with checks being drafted on underfunded bank accounts and credit so poor, he couldn't get loans.

''It was a broken company,'' he said. ''It was almost an impossible situation.''

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:37 am 
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Judge grants coal company new CEO

BY PETER E. BORTNER
POTTSVILLE REPUBLICAN & HERALD
Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co. has a new leader at its helm, as a federal bankruptcy judge on Wednesday threw out its existing management contract.

Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John J. Thomas granted LC&N’s motion on Wednesday to reject the existing management contract with Coaldale Energy LLC. As a result, Jack Teitz, Pittsburgh area, will be the company’s interim CEO.

“We had a very good result,â€

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:29 am 
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New leader in place at LC&N

BY PETER E. BORTNER
STAFF WRITER
POTTSVILLE REPUBLICAN & HERALD
Thursday, October 9, 2008

New and old combined Wednesday to take — and retake — control of Schuylkill County-based Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co.

“The board of Lehigh and its new management have taken over the company,â€

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:49 pm 
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Lehigh Coal gets OK for new management

Company still must restore Panther Valley strip mine.

By John J. Moser
Of The Morning Call
December 1, 2008

A historic Schuylkill County coal company has reached a settlement with the state Department of Environmental Protection to let it replace a management team the state imposed two years ago because of regulatory violations.

The settlement calls for Lehigh Coal and Navigation, based in Coaldale, to reorganize -- stemming an effort by investors and creditors, who say they are owed $7 million, to force the company into involuntary bankruptcy.

But it would give Lehigh Coal just six months to come up with a reorganization plan that includes work to refill a huge Panther Valley strip mine (failing to do so cost the company its operating permit) and to meet other environmental requirements.

If those conditions are not met, the DEP could again revoke Lehigh Coal's permit and approval of the new management team.

Lehigh and the DEP have a hearing Thursday in federal bankruptcy court in Wilkes-Barre. There they plan to present the agreement, settling a company request for an injunction to stop DEP from revoking its permit.

The DEP had threatened that action if Lehigh switched management, even though Judge John T. Thomas ruled Oct. 2 that Lehigh could replace Coaldale Energy, the management company that took over in 2006 after the DEP withdrew Lehigh's mining permit.

Lehigh has said Coaldale Energy has been inept and has put the company in a dire financial situation. But the DEP feared a change, saying it would put Lehigh back in the hands of those who violated state regulations.

The new agreement would let John W. Teitz of Pittsburgh, who has overseen financial restructuring of other coal companies, to take over as Lehigh's president and chief executive.

He would replace Coaldale Energy's Sean Curran of Bethlehem, a son of company owner and President James J. Curran. The elder and younger Currans are members of different factions within the company. Sean Curran has testified that his leadership brought the company back from the brink of collapse, but his father has said he moved the company deeper into debt.

The proposed settlement says that without the agreement Lehigh Coal would shut down, resulting in the loss of more than 100 jobs and the stop of payment to creditors.

''The likely result,'' the document says, would be the sale of Lehigh Coal ''at a minimal price with little distribution to creditors.''

The case has exposed the struggles of the largest remaining vestige of the anthracite industry and one of America's oldest companies. Founded in 1822 by coal pioneers Josiah White and Erskine Hazard, Lehigh Coal helped lead the Industrial Revolution and still owns 8,000 acres in Carbon and Schuylkill counties.

A report from a court-appointed examiner in the case showed that Lehigh Coal, which for most of the 1990s was the largest producer of U.S. anthracite, has lost $14 million since 2002 and would have lost $3 million more, but some debt was forgiven.

Four creditors -- The Primerock Capital LLC of Pittsburgh, Bruce Toll and The Bruce and Robbi Toll Foundation, both of Horsham, Montgomery County, and Douglas Topkis of New York City -- in July filed a petition to force Lehigh Coal into involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

DIGGING INTO COAL'S LOCAL HISTORY

Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co. calls itself the oldest producer of premium anthracite coal in the United States.

Founded by coal pioneers Josiah White and Erskine Hazard, who formally merged Lehigh Coal Mining Company and Lehigh Navigation Company in 1822.

Devised a canal, the Lehigh Navigation System, and owned a railroad, the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad, which was claimed to be the second railroad in the United States, to move the coal from Schuylkill and Carbon counties to metropolitan areas.

During the 1820s and 1830s shipped hundreds of thousands of tons of coal via its own Lehigh Canal to the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, then to New York, Philadelphia and beyond. Its coal helped fuel the Industrial Revolution.

Shareholders dissolve the company and Greenwood Stripping Co. buys the property in 1966 before selling it to Bethlehem Mines Corp. in 1974.

James J. Curran Jr. takes over Lehigh Coal from Bethlehem Mines Corp. in 1989.

Into the 1990s still was the largest producer of U.S. anthracite.

In 2000 shuts down and lays off 163 employees, saying plunging coal prices have made it impossible to make a profit.

Reopens in 2001 with help of a last-resort $9 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Owns more than 8,000 acres in Schuylkill and Carbon counties. As much as 400 acres mined in the past 200 years have been reclaimed.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:14 pm 
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i think i have a photo of that pit they are talking about that i took from the airplane. its pretty neat, looks like swiss cheese from all of the rock tunnels.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:22 pm 
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Court sets deadline for LC&N creditors

BY PETER E. BORTNER
POTTSVILLE REPUBLICAN & HERALD
June 9, 2009

People or businesses who believe Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co. owed them money before it filed for bankruptcy in July have a little more than a month to submit their claims to the federal court considering the mining company’s case.

U.S. Chief Bankruptcy Judge John J. Thomas recently ordered all creditors who have not already filed their claims, or had them listed by LC&N, to file their claims by 5 p.m. July 13 with the court clerk in the Max Rosenn Courthouse, Wilkes-Barre.

Failure to file such a claim will bar a person or business from asserting such a claim or participating further in the case, and will also relieve LC&N from any obligation to pay it, Thomas ruled.

The judge required LC&N to provide a copy of the notice to all known creditors no later than 20 days before the deadline, which would be June 23.

Thomas’ order represents another stage in the reorganization of LC&N, Pottsville, a major producer of anthracite from coal fields in Schuylkill and Carbon counties.

Four of LC&N’s creditors filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition for the company on July 15, alleging it owed them more than $7 million. Those creditors — Primerock Capital LLC, Pittsburgh; Bruce Toll and The Bruce and Robbi Toll Foundation, both of Horsham, and Douglas Topkis, New York City — sought a change in control of the company.

Thomas ruled on Oct. 1 that LC&N’s board of directors could reject the management contract with Coaldale Energy LLC, headed by Sean D. Curran, then LC&N’s president and CEO.

One week later, Jack Teitz, Pittsburgh area, became LC&N’s interim CEO and ousted Curran.

James J. Curran Jr., LC&N’s sole shareholder and Sean Curran’s father, who had sought to depose his son as the company’s leader, has also taken the helm as its chairman of the board. Jack Eloranta is the chief operating officer.

LC&N and its predecessors have been mining anthracite coal in Schuylkill and Carbon counties since Lehigh Coal Mining Co. was founded in 1792. LC&N owns more than 8,000 acres between Tamaqua and Jim Thorpe.

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