NEW YORK -- With the deadline for objections to the appointment of a mediator in the R.H. Macy & Co. Chapter 11 case set for 5 p.m. today, no parties had sought to block the move as of press time Thursday.

While no formal filings have been made in bankruptcy court here, lawyers representing several secured and unsecured creditor groups said they are considering filing an objection today. A hearing on the appointment of former Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance as the Macy's mediator is scheduled for next Thursday at 2 p.m.

Bankruptcy Judge Burton R. Lifland stunned a crowded courtroom Tuesday when he named Vance to help accelerate the pace of Macy's bankruptcy case. However, creditor lawyers are questioning if Vance and his law firm Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett can be impartial, given past professional relationships.

Vance states on court documents that his firm, among other things, has represented General Electric Capital Corp. in its purchase of Macy's preferred stock and Dillard Department Stores in the potential acquisitions of certain Macy's assets.

The documents also reveal that Vance agreed to the post on Feb. 14 -- eight days before Judge Lifland announced his decision.

"Lifland obviously wants Vance," commented one lawyer. "The judge was aware of the disclosures but nevertheless believed that the points did not disqualify Vance."

Several attorneys said although they expect the Vance appointment to go through, they expect some compromise on his law firm, with perhaps an independent firm stepping forward to represent him.

However, Vance said in court papers his acceptance of the appointment is conditional upon the retention of Simpson Thacher.

Neither Vance nor Judge Lifland could be reached for comment.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus