U.S. Marshals Service summoned on reporter covering Chrysler bankruptcy proceeding

Ann Knef May 20, 2009, 10:20am

NEW YORK - U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee Diana Adams of New York threatened to call a federal marshal after a reporter covering a Chrysler bankruptcy hearing Wednesday asked her for the identities of personal injury law firms represented on the unsecured creditors' committee.

Adams's assistant, bankruptcy trial attorney Andrew Velez-Rivera, followed up by saying, "Call the marshal," the reporter said.

The incident took place following a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez's court. Reporter Steve Korris, who writes for the Record newspapers and Legal NewsLine, approached Adams as she left the courtroom.

He told her he would like answers to three questions. Korris asked her what the rules were for establishing a creditors' committee.

She told him the information was available online.

When he asked for the identities of 150 personal injury law firms seeking status as Chrysler creditors, she told him, "I don't have that."

Korris said, "You didn't ask?"

Adams responded, "I didn't say we didn't ask. That's why we don't talk to you."

Korris said he told Adams he was at the hearing for American taxpayers who are paying for the Chrysler bailout.

An individual on the fourth floor of the courthouse summoned a marshal.

Federal courthouses are protected by the U.S. Marshals Service.

In the meantime, Adams and Velez-Rivera left without pressing charges or directing the actions of a marshal who arrived after they were gone.

Korris sat near an elevator as a marshal with a name tag "Lombardo" walked past him. Korris said he had to get Lombardo's attention to turn himself in.

Lombardo asked the individual who placed the call why he was summoned. She responded, "I don't know."

Korris was not arrested.

A phone message seeking comment from the court security office of the U.S. Marshals Service was left on May 21.

Korris was not able to ask Adams his third question about the breakdown of $650 million sought in personal injury claims against Chrysler.

A person who answered the phone at Adams's office on May 21, referred reporters' questions to a media spokesperson.

U.S. Trustees spokesperson Jane Limprecht said the office does not comment on cases. She said a reporter would have online access to everything on file in the Chrysler case through Pacer, the federal judiciary's electronic public access service.

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