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Gossen Corp., maker of a variety of outdoor decking and interior trim products, has begun notifying creditors that it has entered into a debt consolidation process under a Wisconsin statute described as an alternative to federal bankruptcy law.

Milwaukee attorney Michael S. Polsky was named in mid-October as the Wisconsin Statute 128 receiver for both Gossen Corp. and Butterfield Holdings LLC, Polsky told creditors in a notice delivered Oct. 27. Creditors have until Jan. 27 to file their claims with Milwaukee County Attorney Glenn Yamahiro, the announcement said. Gossen is based in MIlwaukee.

According to one Wisconsin attorney's Chapter 128 website, Chapter 128 is a voluntary debt consolidation plan conducted through the state's circuit courts. It is not the same as bankruptcy, the site stresses, in part because it calls for repayment of a company's or individual's debts, not absolution from them.

The site also lists several advantages of Chapter 128, which applies only to Wisconsin residents:

  • You don't have to list assets and property not in jeopardy.
  • You don't need to list all the debts owed.
  • The statute stops garnishments.
  • It doesn't get listed in newspapers.
  • There aren't any court appearances.

A 2008 article in the Wisconsin State Bar's magazine says the statute "empowers a circuit court to appoint a trustee to administer the debtor's estate and to issue a protective order that forces most types of creditors to accept remittance via monthly payments over a period as long as three years. This arrangement becomes binding even if the creditor and debtor have a contract that dictates different terms."

Gossen makes deck and porch products, railing, exterior trim, and interior millwork.