Posts In "Bankruptcy"

Bankruptcy




Meet Five Celebrities Who Have Had Worse Tax Days Than Yours

In celebration of Tax Day today, we here at Law Law Land offer tribute to our favorite celebrity/IRS run-ins.  Now, lest you think this is just another list airing dirty celebrity tax laundry, think again.  This is a classy publication, as you well know, so if you’re looking for dirt on which celebrities owe what, look elsewhere. . . like here, or here, or here.  Instead, on this national day of tax collection, Law Law Land is pleased recognize five (or more) of our favorite celebrity tax stories of all time… so far.

Honorable Mention:  Timothy Geithner

In our Honorable Mention category of “Really, Are You Kidding Me?,” we recognize former Treasury Secretary (i.e., head of the U.S. Treasury, the folks you make that tax check out to) Timothy Geithner, who underpaid his personal federal income taxes from 2001 to 2004 by failing to report and pay social security and self-employment tax on income received from the International Monetary Fund.  Mr. Former Secretary subsequently amended his returns since he “should have been more careful.”  We imagine he regretted his “unintentional” decision not to report that income when appearing before the Senate Finance Committee during his confirmation hearings to control the United States’ piggy bank.

Honorable Mention:  Nick Diaz

In our Honorable Mention category of “How Dumb Can You Be?,” the award goes to MMA fighter Nick Diaz, who recently announced during a post-match press conference that he has “never paid taxes in his life” and “is probably going to jail.”  Well, if Nick had only read about some of the other people on this list, then he definitely would have seen that coming! Continue reading the full story . . . »

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The Lakers Beat the Who?

Seattle sports fans recently rejoiced when the Maloof family announced that they have (finally) agreed to sell their stake in the Sacramento Kings to a Seattle-based investment group that (spoiler alert) intends to move the team back to the Emerald City.  Considering how well the former Seattle SuperSonics are doing as the new OKC Thunder, coupled with the fact that the Seahawks recently blew what could have been the most amazing comeback in recent memory, who could possibly deny Seattle’s sports fans this fantastic opportunity?

For starters, there are the Sacramento Kings’ fans, who fully appreciate the irony of Seattle trying to poach an existing team while still bemoaning the fact that their Sonics team got poached by Oklahoma City.  Rest assured that Kings fans will stop at nothing to keep the team in “Cowbell Kingdom,” if for no other reason than to continue persisting in their ridiculous fantasy that a “rivalry” exists between the Kings and the Lakers.  (Of course, what’s really going on is an all-too-obvious ploy to support the struggling cowbell industry, which the rest of America — except for maybe The Bruce Dickinson — will just never understand).  Leading the Cowbell Kingdom movement is former Phoenix Suns superstar and now-mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, who not only has a political science degree from U.C. Berkley, but also blew my 12-year-old mind back in 1994 when he posterized Hakeem Olajuwon.

Just one day after this week’s announcement of the sale, mayor KJ warned Seattle fans:  “Don’t celebrate too early.”  Because if KJ gets his way, the Kings will be staying in Sacramento (and the cowbell industry will be saved).  Such a result would not only devastate the hopes and dreams of Seattle NBA fans, but would also totally obviate all of the hypothetical legal stuff I may or may not eventually get around to discussing later in this article.

KJ’s Plan

KJ’s “Playing to Win” plan has four steps, none of which apparently require the use of complete sentences:  (1) identify local ownership group; (2) identify major equity partner; (3) demonstrate City’s commitment to partner on new downtown arena; (4) demonstrate viability and strength of the Sacramento market.  KJ has also located a prominent Sacramento law firm that is willing to get paid entirely in cowbells work on a pro bono basis to help keep the team in town.

In order to keep the Kings in Sacramento, KJ must ultimately convince the NBA board of governors to reject the proposed sale and relocation plan.  According to the Sacramento Bee (a far more trusted news source than the Cowbell Herald), the Maloofs have a binding agreement with the Seattle-based investors, which would mean that the Maloofs would not be able to change their minds about who to sell to unless the NBA rejects the sale (or the Maloofs want to breach their contract).  According to Fox Sports, however, the “Maloofs are still allowed to receive other offers until the league approves the sale….”  Meanwhile, other observers are speculating that the Kings’ minority owners may have a right to match the Seattle group’s offer — and that, even if the current minority owners are unwilling or unable to do so, new cowbell-loving partners (including business magnate/part-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins Ron Burkle) could step in and exercise that right by taking over a 7% stake in the franchise that is currently available via bankruptcy auction.

In any event, the NBA board of governors will reportedly meet in New York in mid-April.  At that time, the board of governors will probably hear a relocation pitch from the Maloofs and the Seattle-based investors, as well as a counter-offer from KJ.  KJ’s counteroffer will likely include a summary of his four-point plan (no reports on the anticipated use of complete sentences), and hopefully some additional footage of him posterizing Hakeem Olajuwon.  Hopefully, KJ will have the good sense notto show the board of governors the Bubble Gum Bandits’ corny music video, which supports keeping the Kings in Sac-town.

Legal Challenges

Even if the Kings-to-Seattle move is approved by the NBA, and isn’t scuttled from within the Kings ownership group, two lawsuits threaten the construction of a new 700,000 square feet arena in Seattle.  According to the Seattle Times, the first lawsuit deals with a Washington State Initiative that requires the city to make a profit on any investment in a sports facility.  The second lawsuit seeks to void the contract because the investors failed to complete an environmental impact report and because nonindustrial traffic and development in the “Sodo” area would impair cargo movement.

Although we California lawyers can normally predict the outcome of lawsuits with absolute certainty* these lawsuits are different because they involve topics like the impairment of cargo movement — which, when rigorously analyzed, immediately force us to either take a nap or think of something more interesting before we can complete our analysis.

Even if these lawsuits are defeated, the new arena wouldn’t be ready for at least a few years — which would mean that the team would be back in the aging KeyArena.  Unfortunately, KeyArena is already booked with numerous exciting events such as Seattle University men’s basketball games, WNBA Storm games, Pac-12 Women’s college basketball tournament games, various musical concerts, and last but not least, “Rat City Rollergirls” games.  This means that instead of watching DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette, Seattle fans might just get to keep watching the “Throttle Rockets” versus “Sockit Wenches.”

Since I only go to Seattle to visit family and Pike Place Market, you might assume I have no dog in this fight.  But given that (1) as a Laker fan, I must constantly endure Kings fans bringing up the “rivalry” we all know never existed, and (2) I feel dated whenever I listen to Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day,” I would actually like to see this move happen.

But, as a German train-ticket collector once told a professor of mine when told by the professor that he was going to a certain city in Germany:  “We shall see.”

* Disclaimer:  This statement is not actually true.


It’s All in the Packaging

On November 3, burdened by approximately $5 billion of debt owed to a group of lenders with interests in its most meaningful asset, its massive library of films, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — the venerable studio that brought you such classics as The Wizard of OzBen Hur, andSinging in the Rain — filed for bankruptcy.

For most people who weren’t interested enough to read past the headline — or who were scared away by the ceaseless puns about “the lion in winter” (appropriately, an MGM film) and “the lion’s roar” — the images that may have come to mind probably involved forcible removal of office furnishings and the iconic MGM Tower looking like a giant, glass-and-steel, boarded-up Blockbuster Video (a banner swaying in the L.A. breeze declaring “Every Unreleased Picture Must Go!”). The reality, of course, is completely different and far more mundane. [Ed. Note: Except, perhaps for one thing: this morning’s Hollywood Reporter reports that MGM is paying a “one-time fee” to break its lease and vacate the MGM Tower after all. The studio is moving to a fancy new building in Beverly Hills, which is itself currently the subject of a dispute between the landlord and William Morris Endeavor, which was to move into the building prior to the WMA/Endeavor merger.]

MGM didn’t close its doors on November 3. And no, you cannot acquire worldwide distribution rights to The Return of the Pink Panther at yard sale prices. Instead, after months of protracted negotiations, MGM filed a so-called “pre-packaged bankruptcy,” promising to be up and running within a month. And, lo and behold, on December 2, a Manhattan bankruptcy court approved MGM’s Plan of Reorganization, effectively re-releasing the lion into the wild (I made fun of puns in headlines; I made no promises about body text).

Of course, unless you’re a film-loving bankruptcy lawyer, you are probably left scratching your head about the events of the last month and a half. Luckily, you have me — a film-loving bankruptcy lawyer — to help sort this all out. In three easy questions: Continue reading the full story . . . »