A team of attorneys is working to pave the way for a $32 million payment to Triad America Trustee R. Todd Neilson sometime in October.
Several hurdles have to be cleared before the money can be wired to Key Bank of Salt Lake City.A crucial step is Judge John H. Allen's approval of a discounted payment from Northrup to Adnan Khashoggi. Khashoggi is giving Northrup a $3 million discount on a $52 million debt the company owes him in exchange for prompt payment of the debt. A California court ruled that Northrup owed Khashoggi the money for arranging an arms sale between Northrup and a foreign country.
Immediate payment is crucial to the Khashoggi brothers' promise of a $32 million payment to Neilson next month.
If Northrup doesn't pay Khashoggi, the brothers can't pay Neilson. Neilson, in turn, wouldn't be able to pay the army of Triad America creditors - including several Salt Lake businesses.
The discount - reducing the debt to $48.5 million - has to be approved by Allen and Neilson. "It will open the gate for everything else to happen," said Danny Kelly, attorney for Neilson.
Without the discount, "Northrup could have kept playing games - trying to get out from under the judgment - for weeks or months into the future."
Attorneys for Neilson have also contacted 18 key creditors to see if they will sign releases promising not to sue the Khashoggi brothers for money in the future.
The Khashoggis' payment hinges on releases from all 18 creditors. If one refuses to sign it, the Khashoggis have the option of withholding their $32 million.
"None of the creditors has yet refused. However, none of the creditors has signed," Kelly said.
Creditors have 10 days to decide whether they will sign the releases. If any refuse, Neilson must notify Khashoggi by Oct. 1.
Recalcitrant creditors aren't the only worry. Allen's approval of the Khashoggi settlement this week is subject to appeal for 10 days after he signs it. A host of other creditors who fear the $32 million will disappear into the Triad America estate may fight the settlement.
"People ought to understand that this is not a `done deal,' " Kelly said. "The money isn't here yet."
Triad America's bankruptcy has been marked with infighting among dozens of angry, impatient creditors.
A statement made recently by the new president of Edgington Oil - another Khashoggi company - reflects the jealousy and resentment: "Triad America offices in Salt Lake City have gold-woven wallpaper and wood imported from all over the world," said Edgington President Arch Humphrey. "Their conference rooms have olive wood from Italy, and some other wood from Greece, and the carpets are probably woven by the Arabs. They end up spending as much on one conference room as we spent redecorating our entire building."
Neilson has not auctioned off Triad's Arabian carpets or started conducting paid tours through the conference room, but he has come up with $6 million more for Triad America creditors. The money will come from the proceeds of the recent sale of Edgington. Neilson's claim to the $6 million is subject to approval by the California U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
The trustee for Oasis Petroleum - another bankrupt Khashoggi company - has been one of the most combative creditors.
Attorneys for the Oasis trustee pleaded with Allen not to allow Neilson control of the $32 million.
Instead, Oasis lawyers wanted the court to take control of the money, depositing it in a bank account controlled by the court.
However, Allen decided it was not his prerogative to alter the terms of the $32 million settlement. The terms call for the money to be put in Neilson's control. Allen said he could approve or disapprove the settlement, but he could not rewrite it.
Neilson assured the court he would not disburse any of the money without the court's approval.