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HomeNewsArchivesJudge Rejects Two Efforts to Upset Prosser Bankruptcy Process

Judge Rejects Two Efforts to Upset Prosser Bankruptcy Process

U.S. District Court Judge Curtis Gómez has rejected two efforts – one old and one recent – to disrupt the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings involving Jeffrey Prosser, former owner and CEO of Innovative Telephone.

In both cases the judge cited a failure by lawyers to meet the court’s deadlines.

In rulings handed down in late July, Gómez turned down such attempts made by the V.I. Public Services Commission two years ago and a more recent one by Prosser. The PSC and its then-attorney, Jeffrey B. Moorhead, sought to reverse a decision by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge to appoint Stan Springel as the trustee in the case; that decision was made Feb. 13, 2007.

Gómez ordered the PSC to meet certain deadlines in early 2007 so that its appeal could be heard by the federal court. These deadlines were not met – in fact, the legal papers the judge wanted had not been filed when the court ruled on the matter this summer. The judge dismissed the PSC’s appeal, citing a "history of dilatoriness."

The order and the accompanying memorandum did not explicitly discuss the change in the leadership of the PSC during the period concerned, nor the fact that Moorhead no longer represents the PSC.

The judge did make this guarded reference to Moorhead: "Here, there is no evidence or allegation that the PSC – as opposed to its counsel – was personally responsible for failing to meet the briefing deadlines in this matter."

The judge’s other decision dealt with Prosser’s one-time telecommunications operations in France and in the French Caribbean islands. On Dec. 30, 2008, Prosser’s attorneys filed an objection to the earlier decision of U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Judith Fitzgerald that the sale of these properties should proceed.

While the PSC appeal was denied because the filings were years overdue, in the case of the French cable-TV properties, Prosser’s lawyers had missed the deadline by a single day. Springel’s lawyers had pointed this out to the judge, and the judge ruled that the appeal had not been filed in a timely manner.

Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Fitzgerald issued a scheduling order that suggests she expects the case to drag on throughout the rest of this year and all of 2010. There will be a hearing Aug. 31 in her home courtroom in Pittsburgh, with a carryover date set for the next day. She scheduled three more hearings this year after that, and one for each month throughout 2010.

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