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Ethical Conduct. Unable to pay more than $1.2 billion in debt, Big Rivers Electric Corp. filed a petition to declare bankruptcy in a federal bankruptcy court in September 1996. Big Rivers’ creditors included Bank of New York (BONY), Chase Manhattan Bank, Mapco Equities, and others. The court appointed J. Baxter Schilling to work as a “disinterested” (neutral) party with Big Rivers and the creditors to resolve their disputes; the court set an hourly fee as Schilling’s compensation. Schilling told Chase, BONY, and Mapco that he wanted them to pay him an additional percentage fee based on the “success” he attained in finding “new value” to pay Big Rivers’ debts. He said that without such a deal, he would not perform his mediation duties. Chase agreed; the others disputed the deal, but no one told the court. In October 1998, Schilling asked the court for nearly $4.5 million in compensation, including the hourly fees, which totaled about $531,000, and the percentage fees. Big Rivers and others asked the court to deny Schilling any fees on the basis that he had improperly negotiated “secret side agreements.” How did Schilling violate his duties as a “disinterested” party? Should he be denied compensation? Why or why not?

Ethical Conduct. Unable to pay more than $1.2 billion in debt, Big Rivers Electric Corp. filed a petition to declare bankruptcy in a federal bankruptcy court in September 1996. Big Rivers’ creditors included Bank of New York (BONY), Chase Manhattan Bank, Mapco Equities, and others. The court appointed J. Baxter Schilling to work as a “disinterested” (neutral) party with Big Rivers and the creditors to resolve their disputes; the court set an hourly fee as Schilling’s compensation. Schilling told Chase, BONY, and Mapco that he wanted them to pay him an additional percentage fee based on the “success” he attained in finding “new value” to pay Big Rivers’ debts. He said that without such a deal, he would not perform his mediation duties. Chase agreed; the others disputed the deal, but no one told the court. In October 1998, Schilling asked the court for nearly $4.5 million in compensation, including the hourly fees, which totaled about $531,000, and the percentage fees. Big Rivers and others asked the court to deny Schilling any fees on the basis that he had improperly negotiated “secret side agreements.” How did Schilling violate his duties as a “disinterested” party? Should he be denied compensation? Why or why not?

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