FIRST ON WITN: Fountain Allowed To Reorganize

A bankruptcy judge has ruled in favor of Fountain Powerboats, and will allow the Beaufort County boat maker to reorganize.

After a day long hearing in Wilson, the judge will allow Reggie Fountain to remain as president and CEO of the company and permit it to reorganize with Liberty Associates.

On Monday, Oxford Investments purchased a $19 million Regions Bank note at auction for $6.75 million. The judge says Fountain must now make monthly payments of $29,375 to Oxford to pay off that note.

Stay with WITN News and for more on this developing story.

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A bankruptcy judge could decide what happens to what was once one of Beaufort County's largest employers.

A hearing in underway in Wilson to determine what's next for Fountain Powerboats.

The company filed for chapter 11 protection a month and a half ago and its assets were sold at auction earlier this week.

Reggie Fountain spent more than an hour on the witness stand during the hearing. He said in 2006 they had 450 employees and had their best year ever. Today he said the company is down to about 30 workers.

Fountain is asking the bankruptcy judge not to approve this week's auction, and instead approve a financial plan to keep to company operating.

FB Investments bid $8.75 million for the bank note was unopposed on Monday. FB was formed by Oxford Investment Group so it could acquire the Regions Bank note on Fountain.

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A well-known boat building company in Beaufort County has a hearing in bankruptcy court today.

Fountain Powerboats in Beaufort County is working to appeal the purchase of the regions bank note by Oxford Investments. Fountain continues to try to change its chapter 11 so it can keep its assets and reorganize. The auction and the appeal are expected to be part of today's hearing. Fountain said in August, it was cutting its work force to about a dozen workers. The boat-builder once employed more than 450. Last summer, the company was planning to add 250 jobs with the help of a state grant of as much as $12 million over five years.

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