Sam Zell, Chairman of ELS, Target of Lawsuit

Bloomberg reports that a division of Deutsche Bank of Frankfort, Germany, sued dozens of former shareholders and brokers of Chicago’s Tribune Company, alleging Sam Zell’s leveraged buyout (LBO) and subsequent bankrupting of Tribune was fraudulent, and just a way for the shareholders to line their pockets with $8.5 billion.  In its role as trustee for senior note holders, Deutsche filed suit in Boston and Philadelphia.  Another suit was filed in New York state on behalf of retirees, accusing the Tribune of abandoning “its duties and obligations to its retirees, employees and creditors.”  Zell, Chairman of Equity Group Investments, parent of Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), the largest LLC owner in the nation, says the creditors have no legal basis for suing him.  ELS recently bought 31,167 home sites from Hometown America LLC, as we reported June 1.

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