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Judge approves sale of local American TV store

A Dane County judge on Monday, April 21, approved the sale of shuttered American TV & Appliance stores in Pewaukee and Brown Deer to John Schlueter of American Property Acquisition LLC for $7.25 million.

Schlueter also purchased a 19-acre parcel in Oak Creek that was owned by American TV. He declined to discuss his plans for the properties.

The Pewaukee-based Steinhafels furniture chain will purchase three other stores, including one in Madison, as part of two sales totaling $21 million.

President Gary Steinhafel said his company plans to hire 125 to 150 people — many of them former American TV employees — to work at the three stores. The stores will undergo a complete remodeling and likely open in the fall.

In February, American TV, the Madison-based furniture, appliance and consumer electronics company announced it was closing all of its 11 stores. Nearly 1,000 people in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa lost their jobs, including 270 in the Madison area.

American TV filed for protection from its creditors in Dane County Circuit Court under the state’s receivership law, an alternative to federal bankruptcy.

On Monday, receiver Michael Polsky, who is liquidating American TV's assets, said sales of the company's inventory and property have gone “better than we could have expected.”

As a result, Polsky said American TV expects to repay all of its secured creditors, including BMO Harris Bank, and “all or almost all of the unsecured claims in this case.”

Polsky said there are 1,507 creditors, most of them unsecured, meaning they don't have an automatic right to be repaid.

One creditor, Gravois Bluff LLC, represented by Madison attorney Denis Bartell, had objected to the sales, raising questions about whether any American TV officials had gotten any “side deals.” But Polsky and the property buyers told Judge Rhonda Lanford that no one from the company will benefit from the transaction.

The former American TV store in Pewaukee is at W229 N1400 Westwood Drive.

— The Associated Press

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