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Judge Delays Baha Mar’S Delaware Court Hearing

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

THE hearing in a Delaware court to determine whether Baha Mar’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will be dismissed has been postponed until August 28.

According to an international legal website, Law360, during an emergency hearing in Wilmington on Wednesday, US Bankruptcy Judge Kevin J Carey reportedly said he had no problem delaying the hearing, which was originally scheduled for August 17.

The motion to have the bankruptcy filing dismissed was initiated by the Export Import Bank of China, Baha Mar’s lender, and China State Construction America (CCA), the resort’s general contractor.

Baha Mar developer Sarkis Izmirlian has blamed CCA for opening delays which prompted the unfinished $3.5 billion resort to file for bankruptcy protection.

The delay in the US court means that the matter will be dealt with a week after the Supreme Court of the Bahamas hears the government’s winding up petition against Baha Mar. That hearing is set for August 19.

Earlier this month Supreme Court Judge Ian Winder adjourned proceedings to August 19 after revelations that CCA had expressed reservations about the personnel being considered to serve as provisional liquidators for Baha Mar.

Law360 said Judge Carey further rebuffed arguments from Baha Mar that its opponents were attempting to buy time to see how proceedings will unfold in the Bahamian courts. The resort and its affiliates have also argued that the delay would only create uncertainty which could potentially harm the Chapter 11 case.

However, Judge Carey said if uncertainty or consternation exists surrounding the Baha Mar cases, it was not coming from the Delaware bankruptcy court, but likely from what he has been told has been happening in The Bahamas, the article states.

Both the China Exim Bank and CCA, a unit of China State Construction Engineering Corp Ltd, Law360 said, have argued that the rulings on discovery which Judge Carey made earlier this week have them arranging travel from The Bahamas, China and the United States for depositions, and collecting documents from each country, slowing down what is already a massive information compilation process.

The creditors want to see the Baha Mar family of cases thrown out, arguing that the US bankruptcy court does not have jurisdiction over debtors who are incorporated in The Bahamas.

On August 4, Justice Winder granted leave for Baha Mar attorneys to appeal his previous decision not to recognise the mega resort’s ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the Bahamas.

He approved the application by Baha Mar’s attorneys to petition the Court of Appeal in a bid to reverse his previous rejection of Mr Izmirlian’s motion to have the resort’s US bankruptcy orders approved in the country.

This came two weeks after Justice Winder rejected the resort’s application for an order recognising the primary insolvency proceedings underway in the United States, stemming from Baha Mar’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on June 29.

Justice Winder also rejected a request for Baha Mar to get an approved extension for its $80 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing approval by the Delaware court to take effect. Baha Mar’s requests for alternate relief were also rejected.

The crux of Justice Winder’s decision, revealed in his written judgment, was that despite the “attractiveness of the laws of our neighbours (US)” it is not for the court “to advance matters, which are the exclusive purview of the legislature.”

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