BARNEYS’ 4-MO. CH. 11 BILLS EXPECTED TODAY

Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — The professionals in the Barneys Inc. case are expected in bankruptcy court today, seeking approval of $4.5 million in fees for the four-month period ended Dec. 31.
Barneys’ lead counsel, the law firm LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae, is requesting $2.1 million. The retailer’s financial adviser, The Blackstone Group, is asking for $500,000, while its accountant, Ernst & Young, wants $360,824. Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, counsel for the unsecured creditors committee, is requesting $244,792.
Previously, the professionals in the bankruptcy case asked for $4 million, but received $3 million, while $990,056 in fees was held back. Today’s request of $4.5 million brings the total requested to $8.5 million.
Barneys filed for Chapter 11 protection Jan. 10, 1996. The retailer has been locked in a bitter dispute with Japanese conglomerate Isetan Co. Ltd. over whether Isetan is Barneys’ landlord or an equity investor. Isetan provided over $600 million to construct Barneys’ three flagships, in Beverly Hills, Chicago and on Madison Avenue.
Barneys and Isetan may also be back in court Thursday for a possible decision by Judge James L. Garrity Jr. concerning Barneys’ request for a ruling on the landlord/equity issue.
Also on the court agenda Thursday is a discussion on royalty payments that Barneys says it is owed from Isetan. At issue is who has jurisdiction over the dispute, the bankruptcy court or an arbitration panel.
In September 1996, Barneys said it had terminated Isetan’s rights under their Asian license agreement to use the Barneys New York name throughout Asia in stores operated by Isetan. Barneys filed papers in bankruptcy court and with the American Arbitration Association. Isetan is seeking to block the court action on grounds that the matter has already been submitted to arbitration. Despite the “termination,” Isetan is still operating two Barneys stores in Japan and one in-store shop in Singapore.

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