BARNEYS, PINO LUONGO SNIPINGOVER WHO OWNS MAD.61 NAME
NEW YORK--Barneys Inc. continued its skirmish Thursday with restaurateur Pino Luongo over who owns the Mad.61 name, the moniker used by the restaurant that Luongo ran in the Barneys New York Madison Avenue store. But even as Barneys sniped at Luongo's claims that he owns the name, Barneys said it wasn't going to use the name when the restaurant opens next week. Meanwhile, a five-hour marathon hearing, which ended late Wednesday in Barneys' Chapter 11 proceedings, gave up no clues as to who the secret potential investor in the bankrupt retailer might be. This investor, as reported, expressed his interest in Barneys in a letter sent to most of the creditors' committee, but the name has not been publicly revealed. Bankruptcy judge James L. Garrity Jr. said a ruling should come early next week on Barneys' motion to seal court filings and hold closed-hearings on the potential investor's claims for advance reimbursement for due diligence costs. John P. Campo, a Barneys attorney, said at the hearing that the investor, generally believed to be Hong Kong-based Dickson Concepts, requested that Isetan Co. Ltd. and Saks Holdings Inc. be excluded from the hearings for due diligence costs. Isetan and Saks are considered rivals of the unnamed bidder because the two had agreed to explore the possibility of submitting a joint plan to reorganize Barneys. The attorney said Barneys would also talk to other prospective investors but would like at least one confirmed prospective investor. The Barney's attorney added that the company is "not for sale" and is merely seeking an investor.
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