A dissident bondholder group in Tribune Co.'s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case accused the company and its senior lenders of hiding "millions of dollars" worth of fees that it said were being paid to law firms and investment banks employed by the lenders.
The bondholders also accused Chicago-based Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune, of favoring the senior lenders in negotiations toward a restructuring settlement and participating in a "plan to assist in burying the estate's claims against the ... lenders."Those potential claims were raised earlier in the case by the same bondholder group, which is led by New York private-equity firm Centerbridge Partners.
The group has argued since August that Chicago billionaire Sam Zell's $8.2 billion bid to take Tribune Co. private was doomed from the start, meaning claims by the lenders that financed the deal -- JPMorgan Chase and Merrill Lynch, among others -- should be invalidated. If such a "fraudulent conveyance" claim could be proved, the senior lenders would go away empty-handed, leaving more value in the estate for other creditors like the bondholders.