Extended Stay Court Examiner Seeks More Time

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The court appointed examiner who is probing the collapse of U.S. hotel chain Extended Stay, on Monday asked the bankruptcy court for additional time to complete his investigation, according to court papers.

Ralph Mabey, a former bankruptcy judge who was appointed as the examiner, said he was seeking an additional 21 days to conduct the investigation, as he has had some difficulty in obtaining necessary witnesses, documents and other information that he had hoped to obtain consensually.

The examiner, who was originally expected to file his report on Feb. 19, asked for a delay until March 12.

Extended Stay filed for bankruptcy protection in June saying it was “significantly over-leveraged” and that projected cash flows could not continue to service its more than $7 billion in debt.

In September, a U.S. bankruptcy judge approved a request by the U.S. Trustee for an examiner to be hired to probe questions surrounding the purchase and financing of the lodging chain.

The examiner is tasked with looking into the acquisition of Extended Stay by David Lichtenstein’s Lightstone Group, which had purchased the chain of 680 hotels from a Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) affiliate, prior to its bankruptcy.

A court hearing on the examiner’s request is scheduled for Feb. 18.

The case is In re Extended Stay, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 09-13764. (Reporting by Emily Chasan; editing by Carol Bishopric)