Reston DUI Lawyer

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The Daily Docket: Bondholders Look to Push Caesars Into BankruptcyCaesars Entertainment Corp.’s Caesars Palace casino ...
01/12/2015
The Daily Docket: Bondholders Look to Push Caesars Into Bankruptcy

The Daily Docket: Bondholders Look to Push Caesars Into Bankruptcy

Caesars Entertainment Corp.’s Caesars Palace casino stands in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Sunday, March 9, 2014.

Bloomberg News

A group of hedge funds on Monday filed papers to push Caesars Entertainment Inc.’s largest unit into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, jump starting a long-planned restructuring of the big casino operator. The Wall Street Journal has the Daily Bankruptcy Review article here.

(Daily Bankruptcy Review is a daily newsletter with comprehensive coverage and analysis of emerging and in-progress insolvencies and turnarounds. For a two-week trial, visit our homepage, scroll to the bottom and click “try for free.”)

Clothing retailer Body Central is closing its chain of 265 clothing stores and is going to liquidate under a state proceeding in Florida, DBR reports in WSJ.

Families of people who died in the Montreal, Main & Atlantic Railway Ltd.’s disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, will be able to access a $200 million settlement fund, the Globe and Mail reports.

Irish ex-billionaire Sean Quinn got an automatic discharge from bankruptcy Friday, the Irish Independent reports.

Interfaith Medical Center’s bankruptcy judge approved attorney fees, the New York Daily News reports.

Write to Melanie Cohen at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @MelanieLisa

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Chicago Horse-Racing Track Bets It Can Beat Multimillion-Dollar JudgmentLawyers who recently put the Balmoral Racing Clu...
01/09/2015
Chicago Horse-Racing Track Bets It Can Beat Multimillion-Dollar Judgment

Chicago Horse-Racing Track Bets It Can Beat Multimillion-Dollar Judgment

Lawyers who recently put the Balmoral Racing Club outside Chicago into bankruptcy are preparing to fight the $82 million penalty that hit the horse-racing operation over an alleged bribery scheme involving disgraced ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Balmoral Racing Club lawyers plan to appeal the judgment from a lawsuit filed by the state’s four largest riverboat casinos, which accused the racetrack’s owners of illegally promising to contribute money to Mr. Blagojevich’s campaign if he renewed a 3% tax on the riverboat casinos.

That deal was captured on wiretaps during the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s five-year investigation into public corruption in Illinois, according to the federal lawsuit that the riverboat casinos filed in 2009. The lawsuit said that Mr. Blagojevich’s campaign committee got $125,000 in donations from Balmoral Racing-related entities and was scheduled to take in another $100,000 around the time that he was arrested in late 2008 on federal corruption charges. (In 2012, he began serving a 14-year prison sentence.)

After a weeklong trial in December, a jury decided in favor of the riverboat casinos, leading to the multimillion-dollar judgment.

The racetrack’s Chapter 11 filing on Dec. 24 prevented the riverboats from trying to collect money on the judgment. In earlier court papers, Balmoral Racing Club’s lawyers called the allegations of extortion “nonsense.”

Money from the riverboat tax, which was created in 2006, has flowed to horsemen and horse-racing track improvements to help make up for the financial hardship that hit Illinois’s horse-racing industry after riverboat gambling was legalized in the 1990s.

“The proliferation of river boat gambling casinos, video lottery terminals and ‘racinos’… in most other states has seriously impaired the ability of Maywood [Park racetrack], Balmoral and all of the other tracks to operate profitably,” said Chief Financial Officer Randall Olech in documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago.

Built in 1925 as Lincoln Fields, Balmoral Racing’s harness horse racing facility has a one-mile track, seats for about 10,000 people and stables for more than 1,000 horses. (In harness horse racing, a horse pulls a two-wheeled cart called a “sulky” and a driver. Think Charlton Heston in Ben Hur’s chariot racing scene.)

Balmoral Racing Club’s operations were projected to take in $13.2 million in revenue last year, mostly from wagering, according to court papers.

Racetrack officials also put the Maywood Park racetrack, located in Chicago’s Melrose Park suburb, into bankruptcy. Maywood Park’s half-mile track has hosted harness races for 68 seasons in a row, which is the longest streak in state history, Mr. Olech said in court papers.

Races at both tracks are also broadcast to about 3,000 outside locations, including at offtrack betting parlors. Together, the racetracks employ about 240 people.

Write to Katy Stech at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @KatyStech

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‘Real Housewife’ Teresa Giudice Reports to PrisonThis week on The Broke and the Beautiful, “Real Housewives of New...
01/09/2015
‘Real Housewife’ Teresa Giudice Reports to Prison

‘Real Housewife’ Teresa Giudice Reports to Prison

This week on The Broke and the Beautiful, “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Giudice surrendered to prison officials, and slashed the sale price for her mansion. Also, a complaint against Paul Simon seeking $17,000 was dropped.

Teresa Giudice, 41, arrives at the court in Newark, N.J., in this file photo taken March 4, 2014. Giudice of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” reality television series surrendered on Monday to begin a 15-month prison sentence for fraud and hiding income to support a lavish lifestyle, according to her lawyer’s office and a prison spokesman.

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

It wasn’t a cheap trick; Teresa Giudice has surrendered to federal prison officials for committing financial fraud, NJ.com reported. The “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star surrendered right before 3 a.m. Monday morning to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn.—the same place where Piper Kerman, of “Orange Is the New Black” fame, served her sentence. “She was ready,” James J. Leonard Jr., Ms. Giudice’s lawyer, told NJ Advance in a statement. “Teresa is a very strong woman, she won’t have any problems in there.”

Ms. Giudice was sentenced to 15 months in prison for committing bankruptcy fraud and mail and wire fraud conspiracy, though she will be released two months early. Her husband, Joe Giudice, was sentenced 41 months and could be deported because he isn’t a U.S. citizen. The two are serving their time separately so one of them can be home with their four daughters.

As NJ.com also noted this week, the couple is still selling their Montville Township, N.J., mansion—and they just dropped the price. Originally for sale for nearly $4 million, then cut to $3.5 million in November, the couple slashed another $500,000 off the price of the 10,000-square-foot abode. The mansion, complete with winding staircases and a massive master suite, also has a five-car garage and a pond.

Singer Paul Simon was cleared of paying more than $17,000 tied to a Ponzi scheme led by financial adviser Kenneth Starr, the New York Daily News reported. Mr. Simon, one of Mr. Starr’s many celebrity investors, was named in papers filed late last year in Manhattan bankruptcy as owing money for legitimate work done by Mr. Starr, whose companies filed for bankruptcy liquidation in 2011. (After fighting an involuntary Chapter 7 petition that same year, Mr. Starr himself also went into bankruptcy.) Court papers filed late last month show the complaint was dropped.

Write to Melanie Cohen at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @MelanieLisa

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Forward Motions: LightSquared Seeks $200 Million for Restructuring BackersLightSquared on Thursday will seek permission ...
01/09/2015
Forward Motions: LightSquared Seeks $200 Million for Restructuring Backers

Forward Motions: LightSquared Seeks $200 Million for Restructuring Backers

LightSquared on Thursday will seek permission from a bankruptcy judge to pay a $200 million breakup fee to the backers of its restructuring strategy in case the mobile satellite company’s Chapter 11 exit doesn’t go as planned.

LightSquared said Fortress Investment Group LLC would get nearly half the $200 million, payable only if LightSquared opts for an alternative restructuring proposal. Two other backers of the plan, Centerbridge Partners LP and Sig Holdings Inc., would get the rest.

Philip Falcone‘s Harbinger Capital Partners, which currently controls LightSquared ‘s equity and is investing new money in the restructuring, wouldn’t get any of the breakup fee.

Last month, LightSquared filed the latest of its restructuring proposals, one that includes Mr. Falcone but proposes to give control of the company to others, including Fortress and Centerbridge.

The plan presented by LightSquared last month would pay off its largest creditor, Dish Network Corp. Chairman Charlie Ergen, via a five-year note rather than cash. Mr. Ergen, who is owed about $1 billion, is the only major creditor who doesn’t support the plan.

Under the plan, Mr. Falcone’s Harbinger would own 44.4% of LightSquared’s equity, with Fortress getting 26.2% and Centerbridge 8.1%. The rest of the equity would go to current investors in a smaller piece of the company, called LightSquared Inc.

On Friday in Wilmington, Del., Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. will ask Judge Kevin Gross to sign off on a revised turnaround plan based on the promise of a $20 million lifeline from Carl Icahn, the billionaire lender who is trying to get the gambling company out of bankruptcy in one piece.

Assuming Trump Entertainment’s new Chapter 11 plan moves through court on schedule, it could be ready for implementation by mid-March. The new loan being offered is believed to be sufficient to keep the casino open until there is a decision from a federal appellate court in the company’s dispute with its union over benefits.

Chapter 11 plan papers estimate unsecured creditors will get a recovery of less than a half-cent on the dollar of what they are owed. A claim for a pension shortfall is the largest item in the pile of unsecured debt, while trade creditors are owed about $15 million, Trump Entertainment estimates.

Faced with the threat of a Chapter 7 liquidation if Trump Entertainment’s last remaining casino was shut down, Mr. Icahn offered to finance a Chapter 11 exit for the company and its Trump Taj Mahal with a new $20 million loan. The offer came just before Christmas and set off a round of rewriting for Trump Entertainment’s bankruptcy proposal.

Also Friday in Dallas, a version of Sears Methodist Retirement System Inc.’s creditor-payment plan will be up for inspection by Judge Stacey G. Jernigan.

The Chapter 11 plan would distribute the proceeds from the ongoing sales of Sears Methodist’s retirement homes to bondholders and other creditors.

Sears Methodist has stalking horse, or leading, bids worth more than $60 million lined up from two bidders for four of its eight senior-living facilities.

The bid would be subject to higher offers at a Jan. 21 auction. Rival bids are due Jan. 19.

The sales of Sears Methodist’s retirement homes are the backbone of its creditor-payment plan, for which the nonprofit is seeking bankruptcy-court approval.

Creditors whose payment depends on the outcome of the Jan. 19 auction include a bondholder group owed nearly $96 million and another bondholder group owed $43 million. Based on the initial bids, Sears Methodist estimates both bondholder groups could recover a third or more of their claims.

-Joseph Checkler, Jacqueline Palank and Peg Brickley contributed to this article.

Write to Tom Corrigan at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @TheTomCorrigan

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Architecture Firm That Restored Statue of Liberty Seeks BankruptcyTourists visit the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbo...
01/09/2015
Architecture Firm That Restored Statue of Liberty Seeks Bankruptcy

Architecture Firm That Restored Statue of Liberty Seeks Bankruptcy

Tourists visit the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, in New York. The Statue of Liberty reopened to the public after the state of New York agreed to shoulder the costs of running the site during the partial federal government shutdown. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Associated Press

A New York architecture and interior-design firm with roots dating back more than a century has filed for Chapter 11 protection, citing its inability to collect more than $2 million from an assignment in Russia.

Unlike many companies that go into bankruptcy, Swanke Hayden Connell doesn’t have any major bank loans or other secured debt. Instead, the firm says in court filings that a shortage of cash and its inability to pay its bills led to the bankruptcy.

Over the years, Swanke Hayden has worked on a number of well-known projects in New York and elsewhere, including the Trump Tower, a 1980s facelift of the Statue of Liberty, and the recent rehabilitation of Central Park restaurant Tavern on the Green. (Full disclosure: The firm also designed the Wall Street Journal’s Manhattan office)

In recent years, Swanke Hayden has taken on several projects in Russia, including a 70-story mixed-use tower in Moscow and a planned mega-complex in downtown Moscow.

Swanke Hayden says in filings that one of its Russia clients hasn’t paid $2.3 million due to the firm because it claims “it has suffered damages as a result of the debtor’s alleged delays and omissions.” Unresolved “political and economic issues” could play a role in the project’s outcome, Swanke Hayden says.

The firm’s president, Richard Hayden, couldn’t be reached for comment this week, and the firm’s bankruptcy attorney didn’t return a call for comment.

The departure last year of two of the firm’s principals was also a major hit, Swanke Hayden said in its bankruptcy petition. The pair that left oversaw Swanke Hayden’s health care and public/municipal sectors, which made up about half its business, the firm said. At the time of its bankruptcy filing, Swanke Hayden said it had 32 employees.

The firm has some $6.9 million in liabilities, filings show, including $3.2 million owed to a list of 20 engineering firms, consultants, landlords, and others. Its $6.5 million in assets include nearly $4 million in outstanding invoices and $312,677 in cash.

Write to Sara Randazzo at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @sara_randazzo

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The Daily Docket: Wet Seal Hires Restructuring LawyersGetty ImagesStruggling teen retailer Wet Seal Inc. has hired restr...
01/09/2015
The Daily Docket: Wet Seal Hires Restructuring Lawyers

The Daily Docket: Wet Seal Hires Restructuring Lawyers

Getty Images

Struggling teen retailer Wet Seal Inc. has hired restructuring lawyers to help the company with a potential bankruptcy filing, according to people familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal has the Daily Bankruptcy Review article here.

(Daily Bankruptcy Review is a daily newsletter with comprehensive coverage and analysis of emerging and in-progress insolvencies and turnarounds. For a two-week trial, visit our homepage, scroll to the bottom and click “try for free.”)

Federal investigators say the company responsible for a chemical leak that contaminated the water supply for 300,000 people in West Virginia last year knew about problems at its storage facility for more than a decade, DBR reports in WSJ.

The bankrupt city of San Bernardino, Calif., was sued by a Luxembourg bank that bought more than $50 million of its bonds, arguing that city leaders have been unfairly paying a workers’ pension fund but not bondholders. Read the DBR article in WSJ.

Caesars Entertainment is looking to rally support among bondholders for a bankruptcy plan, DealBook reports.

Debt buyer Encore Capital Group is expected to reach a deal with New York’s state attorneys general over worries that it filed thousands of flawed suits against state residents, DealBook reports.

According to Reuters, a judge said Energy Future Holdings Corp.’s bankruptcy could dodge asbestos claimants.

Big banks have been putting distressed energy sector debt in the money-market industry, Reuters reports.

The Detroit Institute of Arts director is set to retire in June, WSJ reports.

The buyer of the Revel casino in Atlantic City, N.J., plans to open a water park there, the Associated Press reports.

Write to Melanie Cohen at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @MelanieLisa

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