OXFORD — A motion to dismiss Oxford Aviation owner James Horowitz’s personal bankruptcy filed by Chapter 13 Trustee Peter Fessenden was approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland on Monday.

Last week, Horowitz’s attorney, David Johnson, told Judge Peter Cary his client did not intend to contest the dismissal.

Johnson did not return a voice message left for him Tuesday afternoon.

Fessenden filed his motion to dismiss on the basis that Horowitz allegedly hadn’t made payments to creditors since filing the case, had no proof of insurance, had not provided required monthly business reports and had apparently violated Maine Department of Environmental Protection hazardous waste standards. 

Horowitz filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in November, after transferring the assets of Oxford Aviation to himself for $1. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a debtor to retain some income and to repay debts over a period of years.

At the time, his lawyers said the move was an effort to stave off an eviction lawsuit filed by Oxford County, which leases the 40,000-square-foot facility at Oxford County Regional Airport in Oxford to Oxford Aviation.

In a response to Fessenden’s motion filed Feb. 25, Johnson admitted that no payments had been made because Oxford Aviation was no longer in operation, and was working on filing business reports and obtaining liability insurance.

His client had also formulated a plan with DEP to secure and monitor chemical waste at Oxford Aviation, Johnson reported.

DEP issued a notice of violation against Oxford Aviation on Feb. 12 after an inspection of its facility showed that hazardous waste was stored without weekly inspection since the company ceased operation last November and waste had been stored for longer than the 90-day limit.

According to the DEP notice, Oxford Aviation generates a number of hazardous chemical wastes related to painting and refurbishing aircraft, as well as lamps and switches that contain mercury.

The DEP was specifically concerned with the fact that unattended waste was stored in an unheated building, compromising storage containers possibly creating leaks and spills.

Horowitz’s attorneys have stated that the facility was winterized and secured after it ceased operation.

According to Michael Hudson of the DEP’s Hazardous Waste Compliance division, Horowitz, due to the bankruptcy case, was unable to afford the full compliance schedule ordered by DEP.

Horowitz has complied with a separate agreement reached with DEP attorneys to restart weekly hazardous waste monitoring and to place waste in secure, marked containers, Hudson said. 

DEP is still awaiting a full inventory of waste at the facility, due from Horowitz by March 21, Hudson said.

Hudson said he did not know what the bankruptcy dismissal would mean for bringing the facility into compliance, but usually any new owners take on responsibility for the property, including waste disposal, which he estimated would cost at least thousands of dollars.

Contacted Tuesday, Oxford County Administrator Scott Cole said an agreement signed in January between Oxford County and Horowitz that requires him to find a new tenant to take over his lease by April 1 or risk eviction was also approved as part of the case’s dismissal.

So far, a buyer for the lease does not appear to be forthcoming. A message for Gregory Caswell, the real estate broker listing the site, was not returned Tuesday, but Johnson said last week there were a couple prospective buyers but the chances were slim.

Cole believed the county still needed to obtain a writ of possession from a district court judge in order to carry out the possible eviction. Despite claims the building was winterized, Cole said he was concerned there may be serious damage to it after it was closed up over the harsh winter.


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