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The former general manager of Southern Montana Electric Transmission and Generation Cooperative will attend a bankruptcy creditors’ meeting in Billings on Friday to answer questions under oath.

Attorneys representing some of the creditors said Thursday they had been notified by the U.S. Trustee’s Office that Tim Gregori, Southern’s former manager, will be at the meeting for questioning.

Gregori managed Southern since its inception in 2003 until his surprise retirement Nov. 9, which came 19 days after the wholesale power cooperative filed for bankruptcy, seeking to reorganize $21.4 million in debts.

Since the Oct. 21 bankruptcy filing, Gregori has made no public statement nor has he returned calls seeking comment. A woman who answered the door at Gregori’s house Thursday said, “We’re only going to make comments under oath in a court of law.”

Friday’s meeting will be the first opportunity for Southern’s creditors to ask the debtor questions under oath about its operations and reorganization plans.

Great Falls’ City Attorney Jim Santoro said the city, which is a member of Southern and a creditor, pushed for Gregori’s attendance at the meeting.

“He needed to be there,” Santoro said. “To be a productive meeting, who else would you have?”

Southern is a Billings-based wholesale cooperative that supplies electricity mostly to its members, which include five rural electric cooperatives in central and southeastern Montana along with Great Falls.

Southern also built the Highwood Generating Station, an $85 million, 40 megawatt natural gas plant outside of Great Falls. The plant was completed in September and is permitted to operate at times of peak energy demand.

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Contact Clair Johnson at cjohnson@billingsgazette.com or 657-1282.

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