We were the first to publish on the internet the news that Mr. Ed Gregory personally filed for bankruptcy protection late Thursday, along with United Shows of America Inc. and Gregory Entertainment.
On Saturday August 24, the "Nashville Tennesean" newspaper reported about it in an article:Carnival operator trying to stay afloat
By KEITH RUSSELL
Bankruptcy involves 200-plus creditors
Ed Gregory Jr., the Brentwood carnival operator who received a controversial presidential pardon in March 2000, is mired in a bankruptcy case that threatened yesterday to shut down his operations.
The list of creditors, who number more than 200, includes several Middle Tennessee banks, as well as an investor owed $2.7 million as part of a fraud lawsuit settled this week.
Gregory personally filed for bankruptcy protection late Thursday, along with two family businesses, Smyrna-based United Shows of America Inc. and Gregory Entertainment.
The businesses operate a series of state and regional fairs and carnivals throughout the Southeast, including the Florida State Fair. They also own Smyrna's I-24 Expo Center, a meeting and convention facility.
In addition, Gregory's business enterprise receives money from the sale of country music memorabilia and owns a music catalog that includes songs of country music legends Jim Reeves and Faron Young. Gregory yesterday said the company also owns the Jim Reeves Museum property on Gallatin Pike and two warehouse properties.
In its bankruptcy filing, United Shows estimates assets of about $68 million and liabilities of roughly $47 million. The company has about 85 employees.
In an interview, Gregory said he and the company filed for bankruptcy protection to reorganize the business and sell off certain " non-performing assets, " '' including a warehouse in Nolensville and the Jim Reeves Museum property.
At a hearing in Nashville yesterday, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Marian Harrison approved a financing arrangement to fund a $1 million insurance policy needed by United Shows to operate its fair and carnival business. The policy protects the company from claims, including personal injuries sustained on its carnival rides, and was set to expire early this morning.
''I couldn't open tomorrow'' without the insurance policy, Ed Gregory's son, Donald Gregory, United Shows' president, testified yesterday.
Harrison approved the arrangement despite the objections and concerns expressed by attorneys representing several creditors of Gregory and his companies. Some simply wanted the businesses liquidated.
''Just distribute the money and let's go home,'' said Bill Ramsey, an attorney with the Nashville law firm Neal & Harwell.
Ramsey represents William D. Rubin, an investor who sued Gregory and his companies in U.S. District Court in Nashville. Rubin alleged Gregory made certain false representations to him when he decided to invest $2.9 million with Gregory in various business deals.
Ramsey said the case was settled in June for $2.7 million.
Gregory yesterday declined to comment on the Rubin lawsuit, other than to say that he was a creditor in the bankruptcy case.
It is not the first time Gregory has found himself in legal turmoil.
A federal jury in 1982 convicted Ed Gregory and his wife, Vonna Jo Gregory, of fraud charges stemming from accusations the couple made unsound loans in the 1970s when running a small bank in Camden, Ala.
The convictions were reversed in 1984, but the couple in 1986 pleaded guilty to conspiracy and misapplication of bank funds. Ed Gregory was placed on five years probation and Vonna Jo Gregory on three years probation.
The legal troubles then gained nationwide attention in 2001 when Congress and others investigated a batch of pardons by former President Clinton.
The investigation of the Gregorys, who gave thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the Democratic Party, focused on whether they paid Clinton's brother-in-law Tony Rodham to help get their March 2000 pardon.
A report by the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform concluded that United Shows paid Rodham $240,000 for undocumented consulting services.
The Gregorys denied paying or promising Rodham for anything related to the pardons.
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