Finding a Way to a New Kind of Victory

Today your heart is breaking knowing what you must do tonight. After four generations of family who were members of a local group, your cousin and you are the ones who, along with the other members, will vote on whether you accept an offer to sell your beautiful building at downtown.

It is looking a lot like Covid-19 will be claiming another casualty. With a declining membership, in both age and numbers, the group simply cannot afford to keep this huge, nearly 100-year-old building up and running. Throughout this year with no concerts and few weddings or other rentals, the group cannot financially survive. And while it may seem like a bit of an exaggeration, you have this image in your mind of a possible pseudo earthquake tonight as many of your departed family members turn over in their graves.

The whole situation brings back another devastating memory of just eight years ago when your congregation decided they could no longer afford to remain in the gorgeous 100-year-old church because of declining membership. Another congregation purchased the property, however, and the church is once again bustling with members and lots of children. Plus our congregation moved to a different, much smaller, building to become create a new church with a renewed enthusiasm for worship and fellowship. Even though it was heartbreaking decision, the sale of the church property in 2012 ended up being a successful situation for all three congregations that were involved.

Fortunately, a concert promoter has offered to purchase the your local group’s plan for improvements before the Covid crisis is over, so the facility will be ready when concerts and other rentals can resume at full capacity again. So, like the former church, there is hope that activities will once again resume at the downtown location for the current and future generations to enjoy. With this new beginning in mind, you are hopeful that the members of your group will move the unit foreword in a new direction that will reflect the motto of the hundred year old group’s motto of keeping a sound mind in a strong body.

When businesses dissolve and companies fail, there are often many kinds of attorney fees that you will need to pay. Dissolving a non profit or a company requires closing down financial services and can require an experienced mediator in many cases. Knowing ahead of time that you need the help of a commercial litigation lawyer can help you be prepared for the work that might otherwise quickly become overwhelming. No one wants to spend money on litigation settlements, so it is important to look for a commercial litigation team that can help you proactively keep your business in the right place.

One of the more recent challenges that many non profits and businesses alike will face is the threat of employee and customer suits over the health and safety of a building or an office. Even before the pandemic, more than 40% of Americans were worried about indoor and outdoor air quality. In addition, there have long been legal concerns about carbon emissions, tropospheric ozone, particulate matter, sulfur oxides, volatile organic compounds, radon, refrigerants, and methane emissions. Working closely with a legal team that is knowledgable about the environment and air quality is an important first step in avoiding commercial litigation. Even non profits that have been in place for decades may find themselves in need of employee or commercial litigation when major changes have to be made. Dissolving a non profit, similar to dissolving a company means that there are many kinds of assets that need to disbursed. And while no one wants to think about the complete failure of a business or a non profit, it is important to realize that as many as 90% of all Chapter 11 debtors have less than $10 million in assets or liabilities, less than $10 million in annual revenues, and 50 or fewer employees. No one is immune from the financial challenges of the day, but knowing that you have a legal team to help navigate these obstacles is important. Looking for legal help sooner rather than later is almost always in your best interest.

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