On Wednesday, it appeared that Adelphia Communications’s tortured four-and-a-half year journey through the bankruptcy process was finally near its end, as U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Gerber handed down a massive 267-page opinion confirming court approval of Adelphia’s Chapter 11 plan. Adelphia, which had ranked as the fifth largest cable operator in the U.S., was forced into bankruptcy in 2002 after it was discovered that Adelphia’s founder, John Rigas, and members of his family had siphoned millions of dollars from the company for personal use. Over the past year, Adelphia’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy has been tied up by disputes among creditors over the distribution of proceeds from the sale of the company’s cable assets to Comcast and Time Warner. Last summer, in an unusual move, Judge Gerber allowed Adelphia, Comcast and Time Warner to proceed with the sale, although creditors, at that point, had not agreed on Adelphia’s amended terms for reorganization. (The deal, valued at $17.6 billion, was consummated in July.) In his ruling, Gerber noted that the latest version of Adelphia’s reorganization plan had secured the approval of creditors who account for 84% of the claims owed by the company. Observing that, “confirmation of a plan is not just a popularity contest,” Gerber said that Adelphia had satisfied the requirements of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. After distributing $15 billion in cash proceeds from the Comcast-Time Warner deal and Time Warner Cable shares to creditors, Adelphia will cease its business operations.