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Beach Waterpark owners file for bankruptcy

The Beach Waterpark has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but it is unclear how the move will effect hundreds of people who have sued the company after losing money on season tickets.

It’s also not clear what it means for the company that has agreed to lease and operate the property.

The Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District on Monday. The filing shows the number of creditors range from 1,000 to 5,000 and assets and liabilities range from $1 million to $10 million. Amounts owed to the Beach’s largest creditors total $662,042, which includes vendors, utilities and the government. The Beach owes Ohio $116,965 in sales tax from last year and the highest single amount owed is $135,136 to Queensgate Food Group of Cincinnati.

The Beach announced in March it would not open this season and approximately 8,800 passes had already been sold for the 2012 season. Beach officials at the time said they could not refund the money because they had used season pass revenue on off-season operations.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office was flooded with complaints and he filed a lawsuit for failure to deliver goods and services in Hamilton County Common Pleas court against the tourist venue. The Beach has 653 complaints lodged against it in the attorney general’s office, the vast majority involving the non-refundable tickets. In May the total amount owed was in excess of $270,000, but complaints have continued to come in.

The bankruptcy filing includes almost 300 pages worth of names of potential creditors. Dan Tierney, a spokesman for DeWine’s office, said the potential effect of the bankruptcy is unknown.

“We have ongoing litigation against the company for failure to deliver goods and services that were paid for and promised to consumers,” he said. “That litigation is ongoing and it is too early to tell what impact the bankruptcy may have on that litigation.”

In July, Adventure Holdings, the parent company of Florida-based amusement park chain Adventure Landing, signed a lease with an option to purchase the former Beach Waterpark. The Warren County auditor’s website — which shows the water park owes $47,757 in taxes and has paid nothing since it closed — valued the park at $3.8 million as of January 2011.

Adventure Holdings officials could not be reached for comment about this latest development. Warren County bankruptcy expert Harold Jarnicki said all of the assets of the company now become “subject to the bankruptcy court jurisdiction.” He said the reorganization will include a plan for how they are going to pay their creditors, and the creditors will have a say in how The Beach proceeds from here.

“The bankruptcy court will have to approve anything they do at this point,” he said. “So it does effect it (the lease deal) but that doesn’t mean it can’t go through.”

Mike Schueler, president of Water Parks Inc. and managing general partner of the park, could not be reached for comment.