Former Toys ‘R’ Us executives face bankruptcy trial

2022/06/28 23:50:00

Retailer allegedly misled suppliers about the company’s dire financial condition

Jeremy Hill and Eliza Ronalds-HannonToys “R” Us executives allegedly cheated suppliers on more than $600m of bills. Picture: BloombergFormer Toys “R” Us executives are set to stand trial over allegations they misled suppliers about the retailer’s dire financial condition while the company tried to stay afloat in bankruptcy and then stiffed them on more than $600m of bills.  

US bankruptcy judge Keith Phillips on Monday said a trial should go forward, rebuffing a request from the former executives to throw out the creditor claims entirely. The former directors and officers have denied wrongdoing.Open questions, according to the judge, include whether the retailer was already insolvent when it paid nearly $18m to its private-equity backers — Bain Capital, KKR & Company and Vornado Realty Trust — between 2014 and 2017.

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28 June 2022 - 18:31 Jeremy Hill and Eliza Ronalds-Hannon Toys “R” Us executives allegedly cheated suppliers on more than $600m of bills.A judge has granted a preservation order on the multi-million rand luxury home and furniture of former National Lotteries Commission (NLC) board chair Alfred Nevhutanda.National Lotteries Commission The luxury property is owned by Vhuthanda Investment, whose sole director is Nevhutanda.Competitions POLITICS ","category_class":"child-of-news","time_ago":"36 mins ago","premium":false,"gallery":false,"excerpt":"The conference was marred by several delays over the adoption of credentials and a failed urgent court bid to halt it from going ahead.

Picture: Bloomberg Former Toys “R” Us executives are set to stand trial over allegations they misled suppliers about the retailer’s dire financial condition while the company tried to stay afloat in bankruptcy and then stiffed them on more than $600m of bills.   US bankruptcy judge Keith Phillips on Monday said a trial should go forward, rebuffing a request from the former executives to throw out the creditor claims entirely. According to official company records, Nevhutanda is the sole director. The former directors and officers have denied wrongdoing. READ: Grosvenor Girls High racism report lands on Mshengu's desk “At the time of the purchase, Prof Nevhuthanda was chairperson of the NLC board. Open questions, according to the judge, include whether the retailer was already insolvent when it paid nearly $18m to its private-equity backers — Bain Capital, KKR & Company and Vornado Realty Trust — between 2014 and 2017. The order, which was sought by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), was granted after a secret virtual hearing presided over by Special Tribunal Judge Soma Naidoo on 15 June. The creditors also allege that millions of dollars of bonuses paid to 117 Toys “R” Us executives and managers just before the company’s 2017 bankruptcy amount to a breach of the former executives’ fiduciary duty.citizen.

The largest bonus — $2. Judge Naidoo also ordered a “review and setting aside” of the decisions by the NLC to grant funding to five non-profits, which between them received tens of millions of rands for infrastructure projects." The grant funding was meant to be for community empowerment projects such as athletics tracks in North West and Mpumalanga, old age homes in North West and Limpopo and a rehabilitation centre in Soshanguve.8m — went to former CEO David Brandon. An official committee of low-ranking creditors later negotiated a reduction in the bonus amounts, according to court papers. In terms of the order, both Nevhutanda and Vhutanda Investments are “prohibited from selling, disposing of, leasing, transferring, donating, or dealing any manner whatsoever with respect to the immovable property and the furniture. The collapse of Toys “R” Us involved a little-anticipated bankruptcy filing in 2017 that set off a months-long effort to restructure the company in bankruptcy court before it ultimately liquidated early the next year. The company had struggled for a decade with a crushing debt load from its 2005 leveraged buyout by Bain, KKR and Vornado.” “The SIU will institute civil proceedings within 60 days, which seeks to review and set aside the decisions by the NLC to approve funding for War_Rna NPO, Inqaba Yokulinda, Mushumo Ushava Zwanda, Simingaye Community Project NPO and Zibsilor NPO, and recover financial losses suffered by the state.co.

The directors revealed in pretrial depositions that they knew the company could not comply with the terms of debt taken on to finance the bankruptcy, according to filings by the unpaid creditor group. Financial forecasts the directors describe reviewing in August 2017, before the bankruptcy began, showed the company would breach a liquidity covenant by January 2018. One of them, Mishone Trading 11, was identified by the SIU as a “vehicle to distribute NLC funds” to businesses “directed by” members of NLC chief operating officer Phillemon Letwaba’s family.  The company’s breach of that covenant marked the beginning of a pivot to abandon the restructuring effort and wind down operations.  The creditors also argued that the executives’ decision to take on more debt to fund the bankruptcy was negligent, but judge Phillips nixed that and related claims, deferring to the court’s blessing of so-called debtor-in-possession financing during the bankruptcy. “[The] SIU probe has revealed that the property was funded by non-profit organisations (NPOs) with the money they have received, under the auspices of grant funding, from the National Lotteries Commission,” the SIU posted on its official Twitter account. Attorneys representing the former company executives did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.za\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Josef-Schuetz-300x200.

  Bloomberg News. Immediately after funding was received, the NPOs transferred money to a legal firm for the purchase of the property and the furniture,” reads another tweet. .