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A Phoenix based shopping center client had Montgomery Wards as an anchor tenant. Wards moved in its Chapter 11 for an order to close all stores after a going out of business sale and to sell the “Designation Rights” for each lease to a liquidator which would pay for the right to “extort” money from the landlords of the closed anchor stores by threatening to leave the store dark for 12-18 months.


M+M sent notice asserting breach of the lease by Wards’ motion, moved to vacate or annul stay and had that stay vacation motion set concurrently with Debtors’ motions. At the hearing in Delaware, M+M aggressively asserted its motion had a statutory right to be tried first, before consideration of sale of “Designation Rights.” Wards capitulated and turned over the premises. M+M’s client was the only landlord of the hundreds of Wards locations that obtained turnover without payment of “blood money.”