Patriot Coal and its $3,965.60 dinner bill for 17 – Federal bankruptcy administrator objects to ‘excessive’ fee requests

A federal bankruptcy administrator objected Tuesday to an $18 million fee request by firms working on Patriot Coal’s bankruptcy case, calling the rates and fees excessive.

Elisabetta Gasparini, a trial attorney for the U.S. Trustee’s office, part of the Department of Justice that oversees bankruptcy cases, pointed out in a court document filed Tuesday that New York-based Blackstone Advisory Partners LP, which requested $4.4 million in fees, billed Patriot Coal $197.44 for Blackstone employees’ round-trip weekend car service charges; $3,965.60 for a client dinner for 17 in New York, with 15 Patriot managers and two Blackstone executives; and $1,911 for unspecified “publishing” charges, Law360 reports.

Patriot’s bankruptcy case was moved in November from New York to the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis, Patriot’s hometown.

The bankruptcy is expected to be a boon for area attorneys and accountants, who bill at rates between $150 and $700 an hour or higher depending on the work. I wonder if St. Louis firms will head to expensive restaurants with their new clients. I’d bet the bill will come in way under $3,965.60.

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