Lambuth Creditors Want Lawyer; Students Start at UM Campus

Students start to school this week at the University of Memphis Lambuth campus. The collapse of Lambuth University, a private, four-year school in Jackson — and its transition to public — hands has been well-documented by the Jackson Sun, which reports today that the piper is calling:

A group of unsecured creditors is seeking legal representation from Milan attorney Stephen L. Hughes in Lambuth University’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection case. …

According to court documents filed Aug. 3, Lambuth has more than $9 million in total debt.

Officials estimated 150 to 250 students had signed up for classes as of Aug. 10. The private school’s final spring semester started with around 400 students.

The hometown paper’s editorial board has put a positive spin on the transition to the University of Memphis, predicting it “will be a game changer” in terms of local economic development.

The city of Jackson, Madison County, West Tennessee Healthcare, and the Jackson Energy Authority agreed this summer to purchase the campus for $7.9 million, then turn the campus over to the state Board of Regents.

The state budget included $11 million over three years to “to help subsidize the University of Memphis’ operating expenses while developing the Lambuth campus,” the AP reported. If this Tennessean report is a clue, the bill is likely to grow:

The University of Memphis faces $3.5 million in “near-term” costs for safety repairs and access for the disabled, and $15 million in longer-term maintenance at the Lambuth University campus, a state report issued Thursday concludes.

That money is above and beyond funding already pledged by the state and other sources.