Bush, Strout & Kornfeld LLP
Armand “Jay” Kornfeld, Partner
VCard for Armand “Jay” Kornfeld
206 521-3860
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Jay Kornfeld represents companies in commercial creditor and debtor matters, emphasizing out-of-court workouts, restructurings, and Chapter 11 reorganizations. Over the years, he has represented clients in diverse industries, including retail, agricultural, grocery, manufacturing, high-tech, telecom, wood products, biotech, commercial and residential real estate, and commercial fishing. He is AV-rated and is the former Chair of the Seattle-King County Bar Association Creditor-Debtor Section. Chambers USA, an independent directory which researches and assesses law firms and lawyers in America, cited Jay as “highly regarded among his peers for his excellent practice, particularly in general Chapter 11 work, as well as an outstanding negotiator and a creative problem solver . . . a name that instantly springs to mind” and as “attract[ing] garlands for his bankruptcy, loan restructuring and workout engagements across a range of businesses and industries.”

Representative Cases

Representing financially troubled companies in diverse industries, Jay has also developed an expertise in the commercial fishing industry, with involvement in virtually every significant commercial fishing and seafood processing case filed in the Seattle area in the last 20 years.

Seattle Times Represented The Seattle Times in successfully restructuring its long-term debt, as well as other operational and related issues. As a result of the restructure, The Seattle Times remains viable and the sole-surviving daily newspaper in Seattle.

Dairy Farm Restructures Represented three different, large dairy farms in successfully restructuring their long-term debt. The dairy farms ranged in size from 15,000-60,000 milk cows and $110,000,000-$440,000,000 in debt. In each case, the respective farm successfully restructured its long-term debt with its operating and real estate lenders to continue operations uninterrupted.

Brown & Cole Stores LLC Brown & Cole initially operated 30 grocery stores in NW and Central Washington, has approximately 1,200 mostly union employees, and generates annual sales of almost $300 million. At the time of filing its Chapter 11 case, Brown & Cole’s secured debt exceeded $100 million. Brown & Cole confirmed an operating Plan, successfully restructuring its capital structure and pension obligations to facilitate its continued operation.

Residential Developers/Builders Since early 2008, Jay has represented more than 15 large residential developers/builders in addressing the severe downturn in residential real estate. Cumulatively, these clients owe approximately $750 Million in secured debt to lenders and own real estate throughout Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.

Larry’s Markets, Inc. Larry’s Markets filed a Chapter 11 case culminating in a sale of the business and stores, after an auction process, to several buyers. Larry’s initially operated 6 grocery stores in the Seattle area, employed approximately 500 mostly union employees, and generated annual sales of approximately $100 million.

Unsecured Creditors Committees – Ace Tank/Equa Chlor BSK represented the Unsecured Creditors Committees in Ace Tank’s and Equa Chlor’s Chapter 11 cases. In Ace Tank, BSK obtained Court approval to allow the Committee to pursue litigation against Ace Tank’s insiders. After significant litigation, the matter settled for a substantial amount which funded a distribution to creditors. In Equa Chlor, the Committee negotiated a distribution for unsecured creditors as part of a Plan.

Associated Grocers, Inc. Associated Grocers, a large grocery wholesaler with annual revenues of approximately $1 billion, was guided in its efforts to restructure obligations to 17 lenders. BSK negotiated and documented the terms of the restructure, including the refinance transactions that were consummated with an independent lender.

Amerion LLC Amerion provided internet service to customers in 25 states. BSK worked with Amerion in its Chapter 11 to negotiate a resolution of a dispute with its primary carrier, infusion of new capital from its members, and payment terms with its unsecured creditors — all resulting in confirmation of a Plan and continued operations.

Tesoro Petroleum/Olympic Pipeline Bankruptcy Tesoro is one of four major petroleum shippers through the Olympic Pipeline running through Washington and Oregon. When Olympic Pipeline filed Chapter 11, Tesoro engaged BSK to represent it to continue addressing recovery of large refunds due it and appropriate rate-setting at the state (Washington UTC) and federal (FERC) levels. BSK spearheaded efforts in the bankruptcy court that resulted in full refunds being paid to Tesoro and other shippers and resolved long-standing rate disputes between Tesoro and Olympic Pipeline.

UStel, Inc. UStel was a publicly-traded long distance reseller financed by Goldman Sachs Credit Partners L.P., to whom UStel owed approximately $25 million. BSK worked with UStel to negotiate DIP financing prior to filing its Chapter 11, then worked with Goldman Sachs and various carriers to complete a sale of UStel’s assets under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Christiania Bank/In re Birting Fisheries Over several years, BSK represented Christiania Bank in approximately a dozen matters involving the Alaskan commercial fishery, much of which is based in the Seattle area. This representation included a number of Chapter 11 proceedings that involved the complicated intersection of bankruptcy and admiralty law. The largest matter involved Birting Fisheries and approximately $35 million of secured debt. BSK ultimately negotiated a consensual Plan of Reorganization that paid Christiania in full on its senior secured debt.

General Asset Sales BSK has represented various companies in various industries in their efforts to complete asset sales both in and out of Chapter 11. Recently, this includes asset sales completed by a software developer and wholesaler, an electronics wholesaler, a vehicle collision repair business with eight locations, a retail grocer, and commercial fishing operations.

Professional Activities

  • Trustee – King County Bar Association
  • Former Chair and current Member of the King County Bar Association Creditor-Debtor Section
  • Member, Federal Bar Association, Creditor-Debtor Section
  • Member, Washington State Bar Association
  • Member, American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Member, Turnaround Management Association

Honors

  • Martindale Hubbell AV-rated
  • The Best Lawyers in America 2001–2014 (Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law), Seattle Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law “Lawyer of the Year”, 2014, Seattle Litigation-Bankruptcy “Lawyer of the Year”, 2013
  • Washington Law & Politics Super Lawyers® 2000–2014 (Top 100 Washington Lawyers 2007–2009)
  • Washington Law & Politics Super Lawyers® Top Washington Business & Transactions Lawyers, 2012–2014
  • Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Bankruptcy Section 2005–2013
  • The Best of the U.S., Bankruptcy Lawyer Section
  • Seattle Magazine’s Top Lawyers, Bankruptcy Law Section, 2010
  • Seattle Business Magazine’s Best Business Lawyers, Bankruptcy Section, 2012

Illustrative Presentations

  • Workouts, King County Bar Association
  • Extraordinary Collections, National Business Institute
  • Fundamentals of Bankruptcy Law, King County Bar Association
  • Construction Bankruptcy, Washington State Bar Association
  • Bankruptcy/Admiralty, King County Bar Association
  • Local Telecommunications Infrastructure, Law Seminars International
  • Real Estate Workouts, Washington State Bar Association
  • Chapter 11 Plans, American Bar Association
  • Merger & Acquisition of Distressed Companies in Turbulent Times, The Seminar Group

Civic Activities

  • Served on the BEST Board of Directors that raises funds for the Bainbridge Island School District
  • Served on the Bainbridge Lacrosse Board that oversees boys high school and middle school lacrosse programs
  • Served on the Bainbridge Island Pee Wee Board of Directors that oversees boys youth football and basketball programs
  • Served on the Bainbridge Island Little League Board of Directors that oversees little league baseball and softball programs
  • Coached numerous youth sports teams
  • Served as a Math Olympiad instructor in Bainbridge Island elementary and intermediate schools for 4 years
  • Prior to law school, helped start a school for street youth at the Orion Center in Seattle

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, University of Notre Dame, 1982
  • Juris Doctor, high honors and Order of the Coif, University of Washington, 1987
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