Ballamor Golf Club
When a private play 18-hole golf club filed for bankruptcy in an effort to terminate the rights of its members, Michael organized and represented the membership in negotiations that led to a substantial cash payout to the members under a plan of reorganization that permitted the club to become a public play venue.
The developer of the Fontainebleau Las Vegas shut down construction and filed for bankruptcy in the face of litigation with secured lenders who terminated funding for the $2.5 billion mega resort casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Michael served as co-counsel to the committee of unsecured creditors appointed to oversee the case on behalf of the vendors who had not been paid for goods and services provided during construction and the lead up to opening. Continued litigation with and among the various lender groups prevented any opportunity to reorganize, and when mediation efforts failed, the unfinished project was sold for a fraction of the value of the work in place. The case was converted to be liquidated by an independent trustee appointed under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code.
Bayside Hampton Inn
Michael’s client was an owner operator of the hotel outside of Atlantic City that was flagged by Hilton. When Hilton sought to terminate the franchise, the team put the company into bankruptcy and fought the termination until a deal was made with the secured lender to support a 363 bankruptcy sale. After the real estate sale was approved and completed, the case was resolved through a liquidating plan under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. Michael was special counsel to the debtor throughout and directed all aspects of the case for the debtor client.
This was a full-service marina and marine service center on the causeway between Northfield and Margate in southern New Jersey that defaulted on its secured debt. Michael handled the foreclosure of the mortgage lien through to completion and transfer of title to the secured party and then handled the REO out sale by the secured lender to a new owner operator.
Randazzo Family Restaurant
The owner of the restaurant obtained secured financing from our bank client to demolish and rebuild the facility to include commercial space and four residential condo units in Ocean City, NJ. When economic conditions inhibited presales, the debtor defaulted but contested efforts of the bank to foreclose. Michael supervised the contested foreclosure, which ended in a settlement after multiple days of trial. Under the settlement, the bank was permitted to foreclose on and sell the residential units and the debtor was given the opportunity to refinance and retain ownership of the commercial unit, which it did but only after filing for bankruptcy to extend the court-imposed deadline. Michael’s motion to terminate the stay and dismiss the bankruptcy resulted in a settlement that included monthly payments for deadline extensions and an ultimate refinancing and payment to the client bank.
Boardwalk & Lincoln Associates
The representation flowed from a case of an individual debtor who had defrauded many creditors, including large commercial banks for more than $56 million. Michael represented the Chapter 7 trustee for the individual who owned a 50 percent interest in the entity that owned four pre-war apartment buildings in a prime casino zoned area of Atlantic City, NJ. When the owner of the real estate filed bankruptcy, the same trustee was appointed. Michael negotiated for the acquisition of the interest of the other 50 percent owner and then entered into a contract to sell the property to a casino developer that owned adjacent real estate. When the real estate market collapsed in 2008, the developer lost its funding, defaulted and forfeited a $1 million deposit. Michael then worked out a deal to turn the property over to the secured lender as part of the resolution of litigation over the secured lender’s asserted lien on the forfeited deposit.
Claridge Casino Hotel
When this Atlantic City casino-hotel filed bankruptcy to avoid a default on its secured bond debt, Michael represented the bondholders’ committee, which consisted of individual and institutional distressed debt investors. The members of the committee did not want the ownership of the property to be transferred to a buyer, who had acquired and blocked position and was offering 45 cents on the dollar for the balance of the bonds. Through litigation in bankruptcy, Michael was able to delay the consideration of the plan supported by that buyer long enough for another gaming company to purchase the property for a figure that allowed the bondholders to recover more than 84 cents on the dollar through a liquidating plan. Following the sale, Michael acted as liquidating trustee for more than three years.
The View Oceanside Apartments
This case involved efforts by the owner to maintain control over this 350-plus unit low-income residential apartment building in the Inlet section of Atlantic City, NJ. The bankruptcy was forced by the secured lender, and Michael was elected to represent the unsecured creditors committee in the case. Working with the secured lender to fund a carve-out for unsecured creditors, the committee supported the appointment of a Chapter 11 trustee to market and sell the property at auction. After the sale closed, in order to preserve the carve-out for creditors, Michael helped arrange and obtain court approval for a structured dismissal of the bankruptcy case and handled the claims resolution process and disbursement of the funds, rather than have the estate incur the cost of confirming a plan of liquidation.
Atlantic City’s Northeast Inlet Redevelopment Project
In the late 1980s and into 1990, the casino authorization legislation in New Jersey led to the creation of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), which was charged with executing redevelopment of urban blight in Atlantic City using reinvestment dollars funded by each casino gaming operator in the city. This led to self-funding redevelopment projects by certain casino operators, one of which Michael worked for to condemn, clear and construct new mixed-use housing and commercial properties in the Northeast Inlet section of Atlantic City. Engaged as the owner’s attorney for more than four years, this work involved all aspects of real estate acquisition and sale, condemnation, development, construction and corporate transactions.
Atlantic City’s Regency High-Rise Redevelopment Project
At about the same time as the Northeast Inlet project was progressing, Michael worked for another casino operator to develop and build a high-rise residential apartment building in Atlantic City, NJ as a redevelopment project funded through the CRDA.
PBI Regional Medical Center
PBI owned and operated the old Passaic-Beth Israel Hospital complex in Passaic, NJ. The owner previously operated a small financially secure hospital in Passaic, but with encouragement from interested politicians and financing from a politically connected bank, it closed its old facility and bought a larger hospital from a for-profit entity that was struggling to generate needed cash flow. The conversion to not-for-profit ownership did not help the finances of the hospital, which was eventually forced into bankruptcy by an impatient secured lender. Michael represented the unsecured creditors committee in the case, which ended in a state-negotiated and arranged sale to another not-for-profit operator, only to be followed by another bankruptcy, during which it was forced to close.
Kessler Memorial Hospital
Following on the heels of PBI, when Kessler filed bankruptcy, Michael handled resolution of utility claims and service terms and also represented the buyer of assets when the debtor was forced to close and liquidate.
Hillcrest Medical Plaza
The medical and professional office center was adjacent to and developed by Hillcrest Medical Center in a joint venture with other investors. The secured financing was in default and foreclosure was commenced when the debt was purchased by our client. Michael was brought in to complete the foreclosure of the lien and take it to sale. Litigation among the partners of the owner played a role in fostering some delay, but the Fox team was able to convince the judge to allow the sale to go forward, and when it did, the litigating parties settled and the debtor redeemed to retain ownership by paying in full the secured debt resulting in a 30 percent plus return to our client on a three-month investment.
This bedding retail giant filed Chapter 11 in an effort to downsize from more than 100 stores by shedding unprofitable locations and consolidating geographically. Fox was retained by the committee of suppliers and other unsecured creditors to intervene and make sure the plan made sense. The plan did not make sense, because too much of the value was destined for the pockets of liquidators and professionals. Working with the committee’s financial and other advisers, Michael stopped the debtor’s liquidation process and forced a sale of the majority of the stores to a competitor while operations were ongoing, thus retaining the prospect of new business for the suppliers of goods and services and creating a fund to address 503(b)(9) administrative claims of the bedding suppliers.
Network Access Solutions
The debtor provided telecommunications programs and access to business customers through a series of colocation facilities in the northeastern United States when it ran out of venture capital funding and was forced to file Chapter 11 in the mid-1990s. Michael represented the committee of unsecured creditors and worked with the debtor and its primary secured creditor to facilitate an orderly liquidation through the sale of substantially all of the assets and operations, followed by litigation to recover avoidable preferences and other transfers to pre-petition creditors and insiders.
Heritage Highgate and Twin Ponds
The developer of this mixed-type residential housing project was forced into bankruptcy by its secured lender when only two of three planned phases had been started. Michael represented the unsecured committee, which is made up of subcontractors and suppliers of materials used in construction that was allowed to continue under terms negotiated with the secured party. The hallmark of this case was Fox’s claim that the second lien lender was wholly unsecured and therefore not entitled to be paid before unsecured creditors, as proposed by the debtor in its plan of reorganization. Michael won the argument in bankruptcy court and on appeal to the district court. When the second lienholders appealed again, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit also agreed with Michael’s legal analysis in a widely reported on decision issued in 2012.
Revel Resort and Casino
In Revel I filed in 2013, Michael served as co-counsel to the steering committee of secured lenders of the Revel Resort Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, which was the stakeholder group that negotiated and supported the efforts of the debtor to confirm a pre-package Chapter 11 plan that restructured the secured debt and transferred ownership to the secured creditors. After the exit from bankruptcy under creditor ownership, Michael represented the reorganized company in and out of bankruptcy working to resolve disputed claims of creditors and counter parties to executory contracts and leases. Then, in Revel II filed in June 2014, Michael served as co-lead counsel for Revel and its affiliated debtors, which sold the hotel casino resort for $82 million, and liquidated in a hotly litigated case that saw multiple appeals, including one to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that developed law on the subject of stays pending appeal in favor of tenants whose rights were challenged through a section 363 asset sale.
The Great American & Pacific Tea Company, Inc
When one of America’s oldest and most recognized brands in the supermarket business collapsed under the weight of its many years of accumulated debt and legacy obligations, Michael counseled shopping center owners to navigate the intricacies of bankruptcy when their rights as landlords were affected by rejected leases and leases that were assumed and assigned, and he also assisted independent store operators who successfully purchased desired store locations through the complicated auction process run by the company and its advisers.