Thursday, January 25, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, January 25, 2001

Liberty House chief rejoices with employees

Liberty House gets final OK to reorganize

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

A quiet exuberance filtered from employee to employee at Liberty House stores statewide yesterday afternoon as word spread that a judge had confirmed a plan to bring the retailer out of bankruptcy after nearly three years.

Liberty House President John Monahan said the company’s almost 3,000 employees had the feeling that a resolution was near, but the official ruling still brought renewed relief and happiness as the state’s oldest and largest department store now heads into what Monahan called a "new era."

Bankruptcy Judge Lloyd King, at a hearing continued from Tuesday to yesterday morning, disposed of the final impediment in Liberty House’s case by overruling objections of the Internal Revenue Service and allowing the kamaaina retailer to cap a potential tax liability. The decision paves the way for the company to emerge from bankruptcy within 90 days.

Monahan said he e-mailed stores the news shortly after noon in a short and sweet message: "Great news from court today! Judge Lloyd King has just confirmed our plan of reorganization .... It has been a long, tough road, but the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to burn brightly."

Monahan said the last three years have been trying.

"I am just going to be very happy to go back and be a retailer again," he said yesterday after the hearing. "I’m thrilled for our employees for all their hard work that they’ve put in. The fact that they’ve hung in here through thick and thin and some very tough times, I’m just thrilled for them."

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