The filing in a Delaware court set the stage for a showdown with those who back the company's plan for getting out of bankruptcy. That plan has the support of other creditors including some big hedge funds and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
An examiner's report earlier this year said part of the buyout deal engineered by Zell might be "an intentional fraudulent conveyance." That opens the door to legal challenges to banker fees, creditor claims and billions in payments to shareholders.
Aurelius, a Tribune creditor, is known for its aggressive tactics in bankruptcy. A steady stream of litigators from law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer Feld LLP filed requests with Delaware's bankruptcy court to appear on the hedge fund's behalf as it prepared for a showdown.
Under Aurelius Capital Management's plan, a reserve would be created for holders of the company's bonds.
Aurelius would then aggressively pursue lawsuits against Zell, the lenders who supported his leveraged buyout in 2007, advisers and company executives among others.
As part of the company-backed reorganization plan, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Merrill's parent Bank of America Corp and Citigroup Inc agreed to pay $120 million to settle claims over the fees paid to leveraged-buyout bankers.
Tribune's attempts to exit Chapter 11 have recently been overshadowed by a management upheaval.
The case is In Re Tribune Co, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 08-13141.