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May 8, 2009 11:34 AM

The Bankruptcy Files: Phoenix Coyotes, Crucible Materials, and Crunch Fitness

Posted by Brian Baxter

Even if they might be billing illegally--we still want to hear your thoughts on this, Am Law Daily readers--our job is to inform you on which firms are handling the latest filings and what they're earning. For today's post, any available hourly billing rates are included parenthetically below.

Phoenix Coyotes

The decision by Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes, owner of Phoenix-based trucking firm Swift Transportation, to put his Wayne Gretzky-coached hockey team into Chapter 11 on Tuesday has already riled up National Hockey League executives.

We won't cover the particulars here--our colleague Zach Lowe has the full story on the brewing bankruptcy fight between Moyes and the NHL's lawyers from Proskauer Rose and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. But a handful of additional tidbits are worth mentioning from the team's 14-page filing:

-- Court records show that Coyotes coach Gretzky also owns 1.4925 percent of the team.

-- A list of Coyotes creditors filed with the bankruptcy court shows that the team owes Bingham McCutchen $423,446.45. A bio of finance partner Matthew Furlong on the firm's Web site shows that he works "extensively in the transportation industry" and for sports teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, New England Patriots, and Coyotes.

Squire, Sanders & Dempsey bankruptcy chair Thomas Salerno in Phoenix is advising the team. The firm has not yet filed billing information with the bankruptcy court.

Crucible Materials

Syracuse-based specialty metals company Crucible Materials filed for Chapter 11 protection on Wednesday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware. Crucible has had the misfortune of relying on the auto industry for a significant portion of its business.

K&L Gates bankruptcy partner Jeffrey Rich in New York is serving as lead restructuring counsel to the company. According to court records, the firm received $677,500 from Crucible on April 30. The bulk of that amount--approximately $570,00--was for services rendered through May 5 related to restructuring efforts. Another $107,500 was for services rendered in April unrelated to the restructuring.

The firm also received an additional $454,074 between March 10 and April 30 for legal advice not related to Crucible's impending bankruptcy. K&L Gates partners bill between $500 and $900 an hour and associates hourly rates of $290 to $520.

Mark Minuti ($550), cochair of the bankruptcy and restructuring department at Saul Ewing in Wilmington, is serving as local counsel to Crucible. Bankruptcy partner Adam Isenberg ($490) and associates Lucian Murley ($235) and Melissa Rand ($215) round out the Saul Ewing team.

Court records indicate Saul Ewing was paid a retainer of $102,078 by Crucible prior to the company's Chapter 11 filing.

Crunch Fitness

Heat up the chili dip and break out the buffalo wings, because Crunch Fitness is officially bankrupt. What, that's not an excuse for us to stop going to the gym?

It turns out that declining membership and expensive leases are a big reason why the 22-gym chain is entering Chapter 11. New York-based AGT Crunch Acquisition, which owns Crunch, filed for bankruptcy in Manhattan on Wednesday.

Dechert business restructuring and reorganization partner Shmuel Vasser is serving as bankruptcy counsel to Crunch. The firm had not yet submitted billing information with the court.

But while the recession may have, uh, crunched the company, an investor group led by senior secured lenders seems poised to acquire the business.

Norwood Promotional Products

This Indianapolis-based company is as its name suggests: it manufactures promotional items with imprints and logos for predominantly corporate clients.

But deal "toys" and other corporate kitsch have been in far less demand these days and Norwood is feeling the pain. The company filed for bankruptcy in Delaware on Tuesday and subsequently announced that it would be acquired by an affiliate of Los Angeles-based private equity firm Aurora Capital Group.

Kirkland & Ellis and Delaware firm Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor are serving as Chapter 11 counsel to Norwood. Neither firm had yet filed billing information with the bankruptcy court.

Aurora Capital has historically been a client of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Greenbrier Hotel

It appears America's favorite Cold War-era bunker/resort hotel has finally found a new home. The White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.-based Greenbrier Hotel filed for Chapter 11 protection in March under a plan to be sold to hotelier Marriott International. But now the national landmark seems destined for other hands.

The Charleston Daily Mail reports that West Virginia businessman Jim Justice will pay $20.1 million to buy The Greenbrier out of bankruptcy from its current owners, Jacksonville-based railroad conglomerate CSX.

McGuireWoods is serving as bankruptcy counsel to The Greenbrier. William Allcott, counsel with the firm, believes that the sale to Justice is final and that the deal is closed.

"Mr. Justice owns the stock and plans to file a motion to the court to dismiss the bankruptcy in a day or two," Allcott told the newspaper. "The issue before the bankruptcy judge is whether the dismissal of the bankruptcy is in the best interest of The Greenbrier's creditors."

As of Friday morning, those documents had not yet been filed with the court. Dinsmore & Shohl is serving as special labor counsel to The Greenbrier, which must work out new contracts with unionized employees.

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