LandAm "Exchangers" Are Still Pissed Off: Who Signed Off on These Legal Fees?
I told you it would get better.
A group of former LandAmerica 1031 Exchange customers are irate that lawyers’ fees are gobbling up money they hope to recover.
Lawyers working for the bankrupt entity, as well as for the creditors committee, get paid from the disputed pot of money, while creditors must hire their own lawyers.
However, while lawyers are requesting almost $4 million in the latest round of fees, that might be a necessary evil considering the estate has to assess the value of $217 million in auction-rate securities and has lawsuits pending against officers of LandAmerica as well as SunTrust Bank, which recommended that LandAmerica place money in the now frozen auction-rate securities.
While LandAm execs have overpaid lawyers, hopefully it helps the exchangers to have PR that some still trust. It is an ironic example of the Fed's"independence" backfiring for Richmond now that they're in LandAm exchanger crosshairs for their new hire; equating the regional bank to the Board of Governors, who is on the Fed's side at this point? These people are pissed! Richmond's only hope to redeem themselves is to toss their her to the wolves. Or if she isn't to blame for any of this (let's just say), and didn't sign off on any "questionable items" during her time at LandAmerica, then she should be able to say so. Nope... upgrade!
Millions may not seem like much right now but it appears that LandAmerica's problems go deeper than just ripping off a handful of investors. The docket reveals an interesting detail: an ex LandAmerica employee who claims he was suckered into the stock in Summer 2008 and wants his $4500 back.
The SEC claims that there are no current investigations into LandAmerica but actually confessed to me that it was possible for an investigation to be ongoing as long as 2 years without the agency being obligated to tell me about it.
I sincerely hope that if they were not at the time I spoke to them, they start one now.
This is still a significant amount of money:
Lawyers working for the estate and for the creditors committee have asked the bankruptcy court to release $3.8 million from the LandAmerica 1031 estate to pay for work performed from March through May, including:
Akin Gump: $1.2 million in fees and $90,837 in expenses
Willkie Farr: $1.25 million in fees and $77,276 in costs
McGuireWoods: $592,729 in fees and $8,727 in costs
Protiviti: $499,900 fees and $36,523 in costs
Tavenner & Beran: $76,594 in fees
Richmond BizSense and the Richmond Times-Dispatch are on it. Somehow I'm over here in San Francisco on it. Where is the rebuttal? I hope everyone (*coughRichmondFedcough*) is polishing their PR plan, it's not going to go away, kids. Maybe you can borrow that Enron chick from the Board?