By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
IN documents filed in a US bankruptcy court yesterday, Baha Mar accused its general contractor China Construction America (CCA) of being “selfish” and using “litigation tactics” that can “punish and hurt” employees, brand partners, and other innocent third parties.
This came as a US Bankruptcy court judge yesterday rejected CCA’s request to have its motion to suspend Baha Mar’s Chapter 11 process addressed at an earlier date than is currently scheduled.
CCA wants to have the Chapter 11 process suspended until its motion to dismiss the process altogether is addressed.
However, in opposing CCA’s motion, Baha Mar hit out at the general contractor, even as both sides are said to be in talks to hopefully reach an out of court agreement to get the resort on track.
In fact, Baha Mar and CCA are, according to Prime Minister Perry Christie, currently engaging in negotiations concerning the resort.
The government has said that if their talks prove fruitful, Baha Mar will then negotiate with the China Export-Import Bank on financial terms for such a deal.
If that is successful, multilateral negotiations will take place among all three sides, with the government serving as an observer.
Although the US court’s Chapter 11 orders are not recognised here, because the Supreme Court rejected the resort’s application to have the filing approved in this jurisdiction, the ongoing proceedings remain relevant to Baha Mar’s US creditors and organisations like CCA, which is registered in that country.
In opposing CCA’s motion, Baha Mar said the company’s legal action was an attempt to divert attention “from its liability and culpability,” noting that its alleged “repeated failures to perform as contractor are the subject of a lawsuit…pending in the United Kingdom.”
Calling CCA’s attempt to have an earlier date to address its suspension motion “reckless,” Baha Mar said it threatened to “undermine, disrupt and divert critical resources from delicate negotiations currently taking place in Beijing, China aimed at resolving the primary dispute in these Chapter 11 cases and facilitating the opening of the resort. For its own selfish motives and agenda, CCA urgently requests that the court stay final consideration of normal, customary, and routine motions necessary to effectuate the debtors’ smooth transition into Chapter 11.”
Baha Mar also said that CCA failed to “establish any legitimate exigencies justifying the need” to have its suspension motion heard sooner than scheduled.
As it stands, on August 3, the court is expected to deal with matters relating to granting Baha Mar further relief through access to its debtor-in-possession financing, although such orders would have no effect in the Bahamas.
CCA’s deferral motion to suspend the Chapter 11 proceedings is scheduled to be addressed on August 17, with objections to its motion mandated to be filed and served no later than August 10.
CCA had sought to have these dates changed to August 3 and July 29, respectively.
Baha Mar filed for bankruptcy in the US on June 29, blaming CCA for its numerous opening delays. The resort later sued CCA’s parent company in the English High Court.
Meanwhile, the government has filed a winding up petition in reaction to Baha Mar’s bankruptcy filing. This would see the resort taken over by a provisional liquidator under the oversight of the Bahamian court system, if approved.
In its petition, the government said it is one of Baha Mar’s major creditors and is owed more than $50m.
That matter will be addressed in the Supreme Court on July 31.