The CSN Houston Bankruptcy Clown Show Just Keeps Clowning Away
Jim Crane, Les Alexander and Robert Pick have been "invited to attend to informally discuss a resolution" to the CSN Houston bankruptcy matter on Friday, March 28. The invitation has been extended by Federal District Court Judge Lynn Hughes, the man overseeing the Astros' appeal of CSN Houston's involuntary bankruptcy.
Welome to the Clown Show.
The wording is polite, and an unsuspecting party might believe that attendance is not mandatory. It's an invitation, after all. But the proper interpretation is that this is a command, and one doesn't ignore the commands of a federal judge, especially one as mercurial as Lynn Hughes.
And there's one further thing: The gentlemen are not allowed to bring the attorneys handling the court work. Judge Hughes has ordered them to appear without outside counsel. Each may bring along an aide to the meeting, but that aide cannot be outside counsel, and if one of them cannot attend, then he may "send a delegate who is not outside counsel in their stead -- only if the delegate has meaningful authority."
Now you're probably wondering about a few things. Like who is Robert Pick -- he's a senior Vice President of Corporate Development for Comcast. But more importantly, you want to know just what this means in regards to CSN Houston and whether you will ever be able to get the damn channel on your cable/satellite package.
So being one who has never dealt with Judge Hughes, I asked around of some my fellow lawyers who have tried cases before the judge. And the basic summation of their responses: this clown show is about to go to the next level of clown show clown-showiness.
It's not really proper for a judge to request to meet with parties, but to then forbid the presence of their attorneys. But as I was told, Judge Hughes makes his own rules, and those rules don't necessarily match the proper legal rules -- the rules also tend, I'm told, to change from case to case. He also believes he's smarter than everybody else, especially attorneys, and he's absolutely convinced that he understands the case better than anybody else, including the parties who have been living the case for years.
So here's my thoughts/guesses on what's going on.