According to WWD, Ralph Esmerian put Fred Leighton into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
to halt the auction Tuesday of a collection of fine jewels and gems.
115-piece collection was set to be auctioned off at Christie’s at 6:00pm
today, but the bankruptcy filing prevents any creditors from collecting
on their debt, said Helen Davis Chaitman, who works at Phillips Nizer
and is Esmerian’s attorney. At 5:00 Chaitman said she was going to stop
the auction and had notified Merrill of the filing.
still owes Merrill Lynch about $180 million on loans he used to finance
his 2006 purchase of the Leighton business. He missed part of a payment
in the fall and has been tangling with Merrill in court since.