Sears Holdings sues former CEO who now owns the brand

21 Avril, 2019, 00:25 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • A dismantled sign sits leaning outside a Sears department store in Nanuet

Lampert has defended his actions as CEO, saying he was forced to sell assets in a vain attempt to pull Sears out of what he called its "death spiral". Mnuchin was a college roommate of Lampert's at Yale University and approved some or all of the transactions.

According to a CNBC report, the lawsuit claims that Lampert was the cause of Sears' downfall and that he and several of the retailer's largest shareholders benefitted from deals that took place while Lampert was running the company.

The lawsuit also names former Sears directors, including U.S. Treasury Steven Mnuchin as well as executives at Lampert's hedge fund ESL.

In a statement, ESL said the allegations were "misleading or just flat wrong" and that all transactions were done in good faith and for shareholders' benefit. A Sears sign is displayed at a store on October 15, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Sears accused Lampert of ordering the creation of bogus financial plans showing the retailer would turn itself around even as it racked up huge losses, enabling the transfer of five major assets including Land's End and Sears Hometown Outlet for his benefit.

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A dismantled sign sits leaning outside a Sears department store one day after it closed as part of multiple store closures by Sears Holdings Corp in the United States in Nanuet, New York, U.S., January 7, 2019. He said he plans to operate about 400 Sears and Kmart stores. "As Lampert and the other defendants stripped Sears of billions of dollars of assets and encumbered its remaining property with new liens, Sears was suffering billions of dollars of losses annually, and had not generated positive cash flow from operations for years-much less cash flow sufficient to pay principal and interest on its billions of dollars of debt".

The 110-page lawsuit cited sales or spinoffs of key assets that were allegedly used to line Lampert's own pockets and that of his hedge fund. The lawsuit was filed with the US bankruptcy court in White Plains, New York.

Lampert established Sears Holdings by merging Sears, Roebuck & Co and Kmart Holdings Corporation in 2006.

The lawsuit seeks a declaration the looting by Lampert, Mnuchin et al constituted "fraudulent transfers" that should be undone or, more likely, justified damages. The main bankruptcy case is In re Sears Holdings Corp in the same court, No. 18-bk-23538.

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