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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Sides work on new plan for cemetery

By James Gonser
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

Attorneys for bankrupt Honolulu Memorial Park failed to meet a court-imposed deadline last week to file a status report on restructuring the cemetery's finances, but the report is expected to be filed today or tomorrow.

Attorney Jerrold Guben said the cemetery owners continue to work with niche and plot owners at the Nu'uanu facility to draft a new Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan and will ask the court for an additional 30 days to complete it.

The cemetery's owners, members of the Richards family, filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

The previous plan to reorganize the business and tear down a three-story pagoda was withdrawn last month when a vote of pagoda niche holders who have a stake in the cemetery's bankruptcy filing gathered enough votes to reject the memorial park's plan.

Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Faris set a deadline of March 21 for a new plan to be offered, but that deadline is not absolute, Guben said yesterday.

Guben said the cemetery is insolvent and if a new plan cannot be developed, the owners would likely file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, under which a trustee would be appointed by the court to liquidate the assets and the park closed.

"I'm asking for an additional 30 days and that is it," Guben said. "If (the shareholders) can't come up with something in 30 days, I think we will just bankrupt it and see what happens after that."

Attorney David Farmer, who has been representing some of the shareholders, said an extension is likely to be approved.