Yucaipa to purchase Aloha suit
The airline will receive 5 percent from any damages against Mesa
Yucaipa Corporate Initiative Fund I, LP,
the majority investor of Aloha Airlines
, will be taking over the bankrupt carrier's 2006 lawsuit against go! parent Mesa Air Group Inc.
The Los Angeles-based company, headed by billionaire Ron Burkle, submitted the only bid by yesterday's deadline. Yucaipa, which is owed $116.7 million by Aloha, made a $10 million credit bid -- a noncash offer that will reduce the amount it is owed by Aloha. In addition, Yucaipa will pay Aloha 5 percent of whatever proceeds it receives from the suit.
A hearing to approve the sale of the lawsuit is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. today in federal Bankruptcy Court.
"If the lawsuit turns up zero, then the estate gets zero," said James Wagner, attorney for Aloha Chapter 7 trustee Dane Field.
Yucaipa is the second secured creditor in the bankruptcy while Aloha's primary lender, GMAC Commercial Finance LLC, is the first secured creditor and is owed about $40 million following the sales of Aloha's cargo and aviation contract services units.
Aloha is suing Mesa for alleged predatory pricing that helped force Aloha out of business, as well as for allegedly misusing confidential information obtained during Aloha's first bankruptcy.
Wagner acknowledged that if Yucaipa prevailed but Mesa were to file for bankruptcy, then Yucaipa "would hold a claim against a bankrupt company.
"Then there may be an issue of collectibility," he said.
A jury trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 28 in federal District Court in front of Judge David Ezra.