GulfMark Offshore’s ad hoc committee filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court an emergency motion for entry of an order in aid of implementation of the confirmed Chapter 11 Plan and directing, inter alia, that the Plan be consummated without immediate payment of certain benefits to board members. The Court confirmed the Plan on October 4, 2017.
The motion explains, “The Debtor’s departing Board of Directors seeks to accelerate the payment of approximately $5 million in cash on account of benefits (the ‘Deferred Compensation Plan Benefits’) to which certain of its members may become entitled under the Deferred Compensation Plan (including approximately $4 million to Mr. David Butters, Chairman of the Board, and almost $1 million to Mr. Peter Bijur, another director) in clear violation of the Chapter 11 Plan, the Deferred Compensation Plan, and equitable principles underlying the chapter 11 process. Indeed, in derogation of its duties to the estate and as a blatant act of self dealing, the Board has refused to permit the Debtor to emerge from chapter 11 unless and until such payments are made to its members.”
In addition, “Its members are insisting upon payment now, while they still control the company’s purse strings. As a matter of equity, the current Board should not be permitted, in its last hours in office, to extract from the Debtor’s estate unwarranted value in the form of a premature distribution under the Deferred Compensation Plan….The Deferred Compensation Plan requires the Reorganized Debtor to pay the Deferred Compensation Plan Benefits in due course, but certainly not until after the Effective Date and not until the Reorganized Debtor has had the opportunity to confirm the appropriateness of the requested payments under the terms of the Deferred Compensation Plan.”
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