Well, the U.S. Trustee searched far and wide for a Chapter 11 trustee for the case that was clean as a whistle, and came up with Dennis Connolly, a partner with Alston & Bird in Atlanta.
But what’s this? A sinister conflict revealed in a supplemental declaration by the Chapter 11 trustee’s lawyer?
Indeed, the filing reveals that an Alston & Bird partner in the firm’s bankruptcy group, John Weitnauer, is “co-authoring a book” with Samuel Maizel. Maizel works at Pachulski Stang Ziehl Young Jones & Weintraub, the same firm as Henry Kevane and William Weintraub who represented Via Technologies (the better half of a joint venture with SonicBlue) in the bankruptcy case. Luckily for the sanctity of the bankruptcy court, neither co-author appears to be directly involved in the case.
And just to be clear, the declaration states that the subject of the book is to be a “practical handbook on examiners and ombudsman,” and it’s “unrelated to the instant Chapter 11 cases.” Phew!
And to be even clearer than necessary, the declaration notes that the book is being written for the American Bankruptcy Institute, “although there has not been a commitment by the ABI to publish it.”
But it doesn’t end there. Maizel has also “asked Mr. Weitnauer to make a presentation on an ABI seminar later this year, and has done so on several other occasions in the past.”
Legal Pad concedes it’s not as bad as Pillsbury not revealing a potential lawsuit by some creditors that it gave an opinion to before the bankruptcy — but still, co-authors? What will the entangled web of bankruptcy lawyers come to next?
— Zusha Elinson