Aircraft maker's future still in limbo

Saturday, November 6, 2004

Renaissance Aircraft, which failed to meet Monday's deadline for making bond and lease payments, now has until Friday to get financing worked out, Cape Girardeau city officials said.

The city council last month set a Nov. 1 deadline after the financially troubled company failed to meet an Oct. 1 payment deadline.

But city attorney Eric Cunningham said this week that the airplane manufacturing firm has a 10-day "grace period" built into its lease agreement with the city. That would move the deadline to Thursday. But because that is Veterans Day and city offices will be closed, Cunningham said, Renaissance Aircraft president John Dearden will have until the following day to get the financial situation resolved.

City officials made no mention of the grace period in setting the Nov. 1 deadline last month.

Eric Rowe, the Washington, D.C., lawyer representing Renaissance Aircraft, said the company still hopes to get the financing worked out. "We are trying to make sure the city has enough money to make the bond payments," he said.

The company, which has been all but shut down by litigation problems since moving from Eastman, Ga., to Cape Girardeau in 2001, is located in a city-owned hangar at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport.

The city sold $2.6 million in bonds to construct the hangar and pay for the extension of water and sewer lines to serve the business.

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