Hawaiian Air consulting
firm seeks $1.75M

The firms says it deserves more
money for helping the carrier emerge
from bankruptcy protection

The firm that represented Hawaiian Airlines as a consultant and investment banker is requesting a $1.75 million fee for its role in helping the carrier emerge from bankruptcy.

Hawaiian Air Simat, Helliesen & Eichner Inc., which has offices throughout the world, said its success fee -- authorized by former Hawaiian Airlines trustee Joshua Gotbaum -- is warranted because the consulting and investment advice it dispensed "added significant value" to the airline and was not reflected in its standard hourly rate. Those rates generally ranged from the low $200s an hour to the high $500s an hour, the filing showed.

In its application, SH&E said the total amount of fees it has requested from Aug. 16, 2003, through June 2, 2005, the day the airline emerged from bankruptcy, is nearly $4.6 million. In addition, SH&E said it incurred $283,000 in expenses, some of which already has been reimbursed.

The request for Gotbaum's highly anticipated success fee was expected to be filed late last night after being delayed for a week. Gotbaum was hired in 2003 to steer the company through its 26-month bankruptcy.

Gotbaum took on that responsibility after Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris ordered Hawaiian Airlines' former chairman and chief executive, John Adams, to be removed in May 2003 for putting the interests of the company's shareholders ahead of those of the creditors.

Faris primarily cited an ill-timed $25 million tender offer that rewarded Adams and his investment group, AIP LLC, at a time when Faris said the airline should have been conserving cash. Adams argued at the time that the company's growth projections -- which later turned out to be incorrect -- merited the stock buyback.

SH&E, meanwhile, said in its application last week that it provided a broad scope of services to create value to the airline and the trustee. The firm said it developed a business strategy, aided in negotiations between the airline and its aircraft lessors, improved the company's underlying business and helped negotiate a final agreement with the company's new investor.

Simat, Helliesen & Eichner
Hawaiian Airlines

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