Disney asks court to order probe of Lehman officials

Chmielewski is a Times staff writer.

The Walt Disney Co. on Monday joined a growing number of Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. creditors to demand an investigation into the actions of the bank’s officers and directors in the days before its collapse.

In a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the Burbank entertainment giant said that the conduct of the investment bank after its Sept. 15 bankruptcy filing “gives rise to many important questions” about what happened to the bank’s cash and the conduct of its independent officers and directors.

Disney called on the judge to appoint an examiner to conduct an investigation.


“When creditors lose money, they deserve to know why and how,” wrote Martin J. Bienenstock, a New York-based attorney representing Disney. “Therefore, it is particularly appropriate for an examiner . . . to file a public report providing sunshine and transparency to creditors in the case.”

Disney said it was owed $92 million from a currency exchange on the day the holding company filed for Chapter 11.

The filing is among several seeking to find out what transpired in the investment house’s final days. The firm had reported a preliminary third-quarter loss amid a dramatic drop in its stock price and heavy client withdrawals.

An effort to sell Lehman to Bank of America Corp. fell through, and BofA instead said it would buy Merrill Lynch & Co. Barclays later agreed to buy Lehman’s investment banking and trading units.

At least a dozen current and former Lehman executives have been subpoenaed as part of a federal probe into whether the investment bank misled investors before its collapse.

Disney shares rose $1.80 to $26.55.