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HERITAGE USA GETS NEW TRUSTEE

HERITAGE USA GETS NEW TRUSTEE

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Three years after Jim Bakker stepped down from the PTL pulpit, Dennis Shedd is trying to hold together the pieces of the bankrupt ministry's religious retreat.

``My main objective is to keep this property in one piece,' said Shedd, who was appointed last week as PTL trustee by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Columbia. ``There may be some assets we'll sell off. But I want to keep the core together.'He said that is the only way to secure the best price for the property and to satisfy as many of the creditors as possible.

The 37-year-old attorney from Columbia is the fourth court-appointed trustee for the 1,800-acre retreat since PTL filed for protection from creditors in June 1987, three months after Bakker resigned amid a sex and money scandal.

Shedd replaces M.C. Benton, who is recovering from a stroke suffered in February.

Shedd, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., said Tuesday that he has no intention of letting the bankruptcy case drag on for another three years.

As trustee, Shedd is in charge of managing the PTL estate, which includes a hotel, shopping complex, campgrounds, water amusement park, television studios, residential areas and other facilities. He is also in charge of finding a potential buyer.

``My reputation is for getting things done,' Shedd said. ``We're going to have a concentrated effort, and I want to have a pretty good idea (for a buyer) inside of six months. Let's get this thing resolved.'

The entire Heritage USA retreat has been closed to all but workers and homeowners since shortly after Hurricane Hugo struck in September, downing trees and damaging buildings.

PTL bankruptcy officials thought they had sold Heritage USA in late 1988 when Canadian businessman Stephen Mernick offered $65 million for the property.

But Mernick backed out last September.

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