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Bankruptcy trustee pondering $2.1 million high bid for Red Rose

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Published:   |   Updated: August 17, 2013 at 01:01 AM

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PLANT CITY — The Red Rose Inn and Suites' future remains uncertain as a bankruptcy trustee didn't immediately accept a $2.1 million high bid for the iconic hotel.

The trustee, Jerry McHale, wants time to think about the bid, which was cast by an unidentified potential buyer. If the bid is rejected, the 261-room hotel at Interstate 4 and Wheeler Street will go back on the market.

The Red Rose is for sale to help repay debts owed by Evelyn and Batista Madonia Sr., who in March filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for themselves and affiliated companies. On Thursday, 7,300 acres of their farmland and more farm-related assets were auctioned for $48.7 million.

Friday's auction included the Red Rose and assorted other properties. Including the bid for the Red Rose, Friday's bids totaled $3.7 million.

Next week, more than 3,228 acres of land, homes and other assets that the couple owns in Virginia will be auctioned.

All winning bids will ultimately have to be approved by a bankruptcy court judge before the property can change hands, said Carl Carter, spokesman for the auction company, Murray Wise Associates.

The bidders for the Red Rose included the Madonia's neighbor, businessman Shafiq Chaudhry. He decided to not try to top the $2.1 million high bid.

He said he keeps the Madonias in his prayers.

“They are real good people and I feel very sad for what happened to them,” Chaudhry said.

Twitter: @dnicholsonTrib

dnicholson@tampatrib.com

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