Dewey Owes Legal Aid, Awaits Payment From Talbots, Equatorial Guinea

Share This Article!

Written By admin at Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Ramin Talaie for The Wall Street Journal

Bankruptcy can make for some strange bedfellows.

Wondering just who the 90 folks still toiling away at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP are hounding over unpaid legal bills?

The defunct New York firm’s 50 largest account debtors are a mind-bendingly diverse group, according to court papers filed on Thursday.

The debtors range from in-your-mailbox familiar (Talbots Inc.)  to far-flung governments such as Equatorial Guinea, which the firm represented on a range of energy projects.

Bill collectors huddled on the remaining floor Dewey occupies at its onetime headquarters at 1301 Avenue of the Americas won’t have far to go to track down one late-paying client, Credit Agricole CIB. The French bank’s New York branch is in the same building. Awkward!

Also in the mix of debtors: Dell Inc., two divisions of General Electric, and a bunch of bankruptcy clients (Ambac, the Los Angeles Dodgers, etc.).

Representatives for the companies and the bank, and officials at the embassy for Equatorial Guinea in Washington, D.C., didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dewey’s chief restructuring officer, Joff Mitchell, declined to comment.

The list came from an affadavit filed Thursday by attorney Edward S. Weisfelner of Brown Rudnick LLP, who is representing the committee of Dewey’s unsecured creditors and seeking judicial approval to continue that representation. Weisfelner’s hourly rate in $ 1,055, and his co-counsel, Howard S. Steel, charges $ 650 an hour, the filing said.

As it turns out, before Dewey’s May 28 bankruptcy filing, Brown Rudnick also advised two investment funds that were kicking the tires on and/or looking to sell off “the Debtor’s debt instruments,” according to the filing. Those presumably involved some portion of the firm’s $ 225 million in bank and bond obligations, which as WSJ reported was being sold off at a clip as the firm headed for bankruptcy.

Mr. Weisfelner couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The affadavit also shed some new light on the long list of people to whom Dewey owes money. Among the top 50: The Legal Aid Society, for reasons unknown.

The group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Law Blog