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Bankrupt co-op members seek to oust trustee

By Associated Press
Published On: Nov 12 2013 07:09:15 AM MST
Updated On: Nov 12 2013 07:09:21 AM MST
BILLINGS, Mont. -

Members of a bankrupt Montana power cooperative are due before a federal judge Tuesday in their bid oust a court-appointed trustee who wants to keep the co-op together.
    
The members say trustee Lee Freeman would drive up electricity rates with his reorganization plan for Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative.
    
Besides getting rid of Freeman, the members want the rural co-op busted up and its assets liquidated. That includes selling the seldom-used Highwood power plant near Great Falls.
    
Attorneys for Freeman charge that the members are ignoring their obligations to Southern Montana's creditors.
    
Lining up in support of Freeman are the lenders that provided $85 million to build Highwood.
    
The two sides will make their case before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ralph Kirscher during an afternoon hearing in Billings.