George Barber practices in the Bankruptcy, Insolvency & Creditors’ Rights section. He has extensive experience representing lenders and other secured creditors, unsecured creditors, lessors and lessees, CMBS special servicers, landlords, borrowers, committees, trustees, and examiners in a wide variety of debtor-creditor matters, including: (1) outside of bankruptcy — workouts, restructurings, forbearances, repossessions, receiverships, lease terminations, assignments and conveyances, real and personal property foreclosures, litigation, and appeals; and (2) in bankruptcy — plans of reorganization, liquidations, asset sales, compromises and settlements, use of cash collateral, debtor in possession financing, adequate protection, valuations, lift stays, avoidance actions and other litigation, and appeals. In his prior life, George was a workout banker at one of the largest banks in Texas, where he received formal credit training and managed and conducted commercial, real estate, and oil and gas loan workouts, foreclosures, bankruptcies, and litigation.
- Successfully represented the administrative agent and majority lender in a $57.5 million senior secured, syndicated loan to one of the largest wholesale grower and greenhouse operations in the nation. The representation included several months of prepetition negotiations, followed by a bankruptcy filing and numerous contested matters relating to use of cash collateral, the sale of all assets under Bankruptcy Code Section 363, approval of a comprehensive settlement and release agreement with the lenders, and confirmation of a plan of liquidation that provided additional lender releases and established post-confirmation liquidation and litigation trusts. The representation also included investigation and analysis of significant inventory and earnings overstatements which were not disclosed on the borrower’s financial statements prior to the closing on the loans.
- Successfully represented a bank as participant lender in a $43.5 million senior secured, syndicated loan to borrowers that owned and operated a large mixed-use real estate development, including office, retail, and multifamily properties, surrounding the city center in one of the fastest growing municipalities in North Texas. The representation included extensive participant lender involvement in prepetition disputes with the agent, and in post-petition dealings with the borrowers and their sponsor, including drafting of relevant plan of reorganization provisions that led to confirmation of a consensual plan of reorganization, an almost 38% reduction in and restructure of the syndicated loans, and resolution of several complicated disputes including parking and access easement agreements, and alleged priming liens and covenants running with the land asserted by the municipality.
- Successfully represented a manufacturer of heavy construction and agricultural equipment, and its lender subsidiary owed over $30 million on secured floor plan financing, in a large equipment dealer bankruptcy involving 11 retail locations throughout Texas. The representation involved compressed prepetition negotiations concerning proposed debtor in possession financing, form of stalking-horse asset purchase agreement, and bankruptcy sale bidding procedures. Representation post-petition included obtaining approval of the proposed debtor in possession financing and an expedited sale of all assets under Bankruptcy Code Section 363. The approval and subsequent closing of the sale, and payment in full of the client, occurred within 40 days after the bankruptcy filing.
- Successfully represented a bank owed approximately $38 million on several secured loans and leases by a large, privately owned trucking company that specialized in cross-border trucking serving the maquiladora industry along the United States – Mexico border. The representation included successful restructure of the debtors in bankruptcy, conversion of approximately $59 million of secured claims to equity, discharge of several million dollars of unsecured claims, preservation of 550 jobs, restructure of almost $45 million of secured claims owed to 21 lenders, and restructure of several equipment leases. The representation also involved resolution of several disputes involving conflicting lien and lease claims to portions of the client’s collateral.
- Successfully represented a large national home builder in an out of court workout and liquidation involving a $90 million senior secured, syndicated loan facility. The representation included negotiations of several forbearance agreements and cash budgets, completion of all construction in process, conveyance of all home and lot inventory as a result of client sales and agreed lender foreclosures, payment in full of all unsecured trade creditors and M&M lien claimants, and cessation and wind-up of the client’s business operations.
- Successfully represented a post-confirmation litigation trustee in a bankruptcy involving one of the largest privately held mortgage companies in the nation which at its peak had over $1.1 billion in assets and employed over 5,500 employees. The representation included a significant amount of contested matter and adversary proceeding litigation, claims objections, and negotiations with several mortgage lenders, investors, and warehouse lenders. The trustee ultimately recovered more than $20 million in gross cash recoveries in the case, and obtained disallowance of more than $636 million of claims in the case.
- Successfully represented an involuntary debtor in negotiating settlements with several petitioning creditors asserting claims totaling in excess of $15 million, and obtaining dismissal of the involuntary bankruptcy case. The involuntary debtor sold furniture, appliances and electronics to consumers at 37 locations, employed approximately 650 employees, and generated sales of approximately $140 million each year.
- Successfully represented a bank as participant lender in an approximate $145 million senior secured, syndicated loan facility related to a chemical plant in Ohio. The matter involved significant participant lender involvement in analyses, negotiations and decision-making relating to prepetition forbearance agreements and cash use restrictions, the implications of several state and federal environmental law issues, and the post-petition use of cash collateral, sale of all assets under Bankruptcy Code Section 363, and confirmation of a consensual plan of liquidation.
- Successfully represented one of the largest electric supply companies in California in a Texas bankruptcy case involving approximately 83 debtors involved in the business of producing and marketing electric power in the United States, the Caribbean and the Philippines. The client was one of several California electric supply companies and public agencies that asserted claims against the debtors for refunds and damages totaling over $2.3 billion relating to the California energy crisis in 2000-2001, allegedly caused by the wrongful conduct, including market manipulation, of the debtors. The representation led to a global settlement approved by the bankruptcy court that included recovery of over $450 million by the California claimants, and resolution of extensive disputes and litigation before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
- “Selected Bankruptcy Issues in Construction Lending”, Banking Lending Institute on Construction Lending, Atlanta, GA, November, 1994.