Ruling affirms involuntary bankruptcy petition against Brennan’s

In this photo taken on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, pedestrians stroll past the exterior of the building that used to house the famed Brennan's Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Brennans Restaurant: A New Orleans Tradition Since 1946, as the website brags, is closed, the latest shoe to fall in 40 years of headline-grabbing family discord and costly litigation over matters of control, money and use of the family name at some of the establishments that trace their lineage to Owen Sr. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Show caption
In this photo taken on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, pedestrians stroll past the exterior of the building that used to house the famed Brennan's Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Brennans Restaurant: A New Orleans Tradition Since 1946, as the website brags, is closed, the latest shoe to fall in 40 years of headline-grabbing family discord and costly litigation over matters of control, money and use of the family name at some of the establishments that trace their lineage to Owen Sr. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

List of creditors must be given to court

Creditors can proceed with trying to collect more than $60,000 from Brennan’s Inc., the company that until this summer operated the Royal Street restaurant of the same name, a judge has ruled.

Thursday’s ruling by Judge Jerry A. Brown affirmed the involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition filed by four companies that say they have not been paid since the restaurant closed in June.

The court has appointed Ronald J. Hof as interim trustee to oversee the liquidation of the firm’s assets and their distribution to creditors.

Brennan’s restaurant was evicted from its longtime home at 417 Royal St. on June 27, about a month after the building was sold for $6.85 million in a foreclosure auction to Leggo/4. The restaurant has been closed since then.

The new owners, including businessman Terry White and restaurateur Ralph Brennan, have said they intend to open another restaurant at the site. Brennan is related to the former Brennan’s operators but previously had no role in Brennan’s Inc. or the Royal Street restaurant.

A group of creditors took legal action this fall to force Brennan’s Inc. into bankruptcy to collect on debts they said have gone unpaid since the restaurant shut down. The restaurant’s former operator, Pip Brennan, declined to comment.

Creditors Sysco New Orleans LLC, Dorignac’s Food Center LLC and G.H. Leidenheimer Baking Co. filed an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition against the restaurant company in October to collect on claims of nearly $60,000.

Harkins, The Florist of Louisiana Inc., joined the suit in November.

Sysco, which provided food and other goods to Brennan’s, said the restaurant company owes it $49,307, according to the petition. Leidenheimer is owed $4,480, the French bread maker said. Dorignac’s, which provided Brennan’s with spirits, has filed a claim for $4,778. Harkins, which delivered flowers and floral arrangements to the restaurant, wants to collect $2,103.

Brennan’s has until Dec. 12 to submit a list of all of its creditors to the court. The company must also deliver financial documents detailing its assets and liabilities by Dec. 19, Brown ruled.

The bankruptcy is proceeding even as Brennan’s Inc. awaits a decision from a federal judge on a request to reinstate its ownership of the Royal Street building that had housed the restaurant since 1955, allowing the company to return.

Ted Brennan, a shareholder and former president of Brennan’s Inc., had asked Brown to delay making a decision on the bankruptcy until that federal case is settled, but the request was denied.