JUDGE PUTS BIDERMANN CREDITORS ON HOLD WHILE RULING IS APPEALED

Byline: JEFF SIEGEL

NEW YORK — A federal judge here has kept creditors of Maurice Bidermann at bay while the French apparel manufacturer appeals the dismissal this month of his two-year personal Chapter 11 case.
Judge Charles S. Haight ordered creditors not to move on Bidermann’s assets until a decision is reached on the appeal.
Haight pointed out that while Bankruptcy Judge James Garrity in his dismissal said Bidermann’s conduct in the proceedings had been “problematical at best,” he did not rule out “a reasonable likelihood of rehabilitation” for the debtor’s finances.
Haight issued a stay of Garrity’s ruling, saying that without the injunction Bidermann will suffer “irreparable injury” that would destroy any chance of a reorganization of his personal finances.
Allowing creditors to attach Bidermann’s assets “would sound the death knell to [Bidermann’s] efforts at rehabilitation through reorganization.”
Objecting to Haight’s order was Rexnord Holdings Inc., of Chantilly, Va., which won a $12 million judgment against Bidermann in 1991 that precipitated Bidermann’s filing for bankruptcy protection in July 1993.
The multi-million dollar Rexnord judgment resulted from a sour stock deal with Bidermann. Rexnord charged that it bought stock in Bidermann USA Inc. at Maurice Bidermann’s request with the understanding that the French apparel maker would repurchase the stock at a later date. Bidermann never repurchased the shares.
Bidermann’s Chapter 11 petition states that the 20 largest creditors, mostly banks, are owed more than $37.9 million. At the time of the filing, Bidermann said a downturn at Bidermann Industries Corp., specifically in the performance of the Cluett, Peabody operations acquired in 1989, was partly to blame for his financial woes.
Bidermann Industries, the operating subsidiary of Bidermann USA, manufactures several men’s wear lines and also is the licensee for Ralph Lauren Womenswear.
— Fairchild News Service

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