RETAILING : Rusty Pelican to Petition Bankruptcy Court for Chapter 11 Reorganization

Compiled by Greg Johnson / Times staff writer

Rusty Pelican, the San Juan Capistrano-based restaurant operator, said it hopes to file its petition for a Chapter 11 reorganization with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana today. The chain closed six of its restaurants--including locations in Brea, Newport Beach and Irvine--at the close of business on Sunday, but remains open at 18 other locations.

On Monday, Rusty Pelican officials blamed the situation on debt left over from a 1980s leveraged buyout and on the costs of leasing some of the chain's properties. Executives singled out an Irvine location owned by the Irvine Co. as one example.

But Irvine Co. executives on Wednesday disputed the figures supplied by Rusty Pelican. Monthly rents are "significantly" below the $36,000 figure suggested by Rusty Pelican executives, according to Irvine Co. spokeswoman Dawn McCormick. "We did meet with them more than a year ago and agreed to adjust their rent downward."

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