LightSquared Creditors Attack Board Member Who Battled Ergen

Sep 24 2013 | 9:39am ET

The creditors of Harbinger Capital Management's wireless Internet venture want a director tossed off the special committee overseeing an auction of the company's assets.

The creditors, including several hedge funds, worried in a court filing that Donna Alderman lacks independence due to her "troubled history" with Dish Network Chairman Charles Ergen. Ergen is leading a $2.2 billion bid for LightSquared's share of the electromagnetic spectrum, one that would see LightSquared's creditors paid in full.

Alderman, one of five directors named to the committee, was fired by DBSD North America after it was purchased out of bankruptcy by Dish. The company then refused to pay her the $7 million she claimed, leading her to tell Dish lawyers that she was "being screwed by Dish."

She eventually dropped the claim, saying she was "extremely disappointed… in Dish."

For its part, LightSquared said that, given the small size of the industry, it was "inevitable" that Alderman would have some previous interactions with "at least some of the interested parties." The company said it questioned Alderman about potential conflicts or biases before naming her to the committee.

Only two of the five nominees have passed muster with the lenders: Brigade Capital Management founder Neal Goldman and Strategic Value Partners' Alan Carr. They have objected to LightSquared CEO Douglas Smith and restructuring committee chair David Murgio, saying they, like Alderman, lack independence.

For its part, LightSquared is fighting Ergen's bid, seeking to have him disqualified as a creditor. The hedge fund argues that his purchase, through a hedge fund, of more than $1 billion in LightSquared debt violates a covenant banning competitors from doing so.


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