It was reported on 15th June, Judge Julie Manning denied the application for withdrawing Miles Guo’s bankruptcy case, and ordered the US Trustee Office to appoint a new one. On 30th June, Attorney Joe D Whitley was approved by the judge as trustee who was appointed by the US Trustee Office of Department of Justice. On the same day, Mr Whitley accepted the appointment and filed an affidavit of disinterest.However, something happened during the last 5 days since 30th June, even Judge Manning herself could not understand. Without either explanation to the judge nor submission of application or notification to Miles’ legal team, the US Trustee Office withdrew the appointment of Mr. Whitley as the court ordered trustee.The Connecticut Bankruptcy Court held a hearing due to the change on 6th July. However, Attorney Joe D Whitley did not attend that hearing, which was out of the judge’s expectation.
Holley Claiborn, the representative from the US Trustee Office, explained the reason for the withdrawal from the case at the hearing, saying it was due to the findings of conflict of interest. However, she is not in the position to share the info with the court or the party due to government privilege and the privacy of the review process.Followed on 7th July, the US Trustee Office announced a new trustee, Attorney Luc A. Despins of Paul Hastings LLP. According to Miles, Luc A Despins in court told the judge that he was not aware the PAG is the parent company of PAG Real Estate he once represented. This clearly shows that he is also not a disinterested person.
This makes the US Trustee Office designation of Luc A Despins of Paul Hastings LLP in Miles’ case unreasonable and confusing. According to the National Law Journal, among the NLJ 500 in 2022, Paul Hastings the firm that has 979 attorneys, ranked 38th in the United States. Among so many elite lawyers, designation Luc Despins from Paul Hastings is very unreasonable.
From Paul Hastings’ web page, it can be seen that Luc A. Despins “has been cited on numerous occasions for his role in major bankruptcies”. It can be further discovered that Kristopher Hansen who joined Paul Hastings recently is partnering with Luc at the moment.
Miles filed for bankruptcy Chapter 11 in Connecticut on February 15th, 2022. At the end of April this year, a total of 43 attorneys, including Kristopher, jumped from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP to Paul Hasting’s New York office. Kristopher Hansen has worked 28 years in Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, and led the job jump.
Mr. Hansen, former partner and head of Stroock’s financial restructuring group practice, joined as co-chair of Paul Hastings’ restructuring practice, serving aside with existing chair Luc Despins.
On the Paul Hastings’ website, Overview page described Kristopher Hansen “has guided clients through bankruptcy and appellate courts across the country, as well as through numerous out-of-court situations.” He “represents official creditors’ committees in complex corporate Chapter 11 cases and corporate debtors in connection with formal bankruptcy proceedings and informal negotiations to restructure their debt obligations”.
The Department of Justice would not choose Luc A Despins as the trustee without thinking twice, especially in the case of Miles’ bankruptcy.