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Aug. 24, 2022

Matthew A. Lesnick

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LOS ANGELES - Matthew A. Lesnick says he likes working on cases that raise some allegations of fraud. "They're more interesting. They're more fun," he said. He and partner Christopher Prince recently resolved one matter that had spread out into two Chapter 11 cases and five lawsuits across bankruptcy court, California state court and federal court in Massachusetts. Their client was the owner of a well-known craft brewery on the central coast who had borrowed money for an expansion from someone Lesnick described as "literally a crook." "Once that guy got his hooks in the business, he just started bilking it for every penny," he said. The attorneys finally found a buyer for the company and arranged a deal in mediation to resolve all the litigation. That happened in September. But then negotiations to craft the specific deal documents lasted till spring. "And we had agreed on all of the business points." Even more recently, Lesnick represented the trust established by late actor Dennis Hopper to hold his extensive art collection and his own paintings and photographs. Some of Hopper's children filed suit in Superior Court for an accounting and to remove one of the trustees. That trustee then filed an involuntary bankruptcy against the trust. Lesnick got the bankruptcy dismissed in late July, sending the matter back to probate court. In re: The Hopper Art Trust, 2:21-bk-19433 (Bankr. C.D. Cal., filed Dec. 24, 2021). Then there was the case a dozen years ago in which he represented a creditor pursuing "a quasi-investor-broker" and then in bankruptcy. Among the assets he sought were the debtor's collections of fine wine, famous musicians' guitars and pre-Castro Cuban cigars. "I don't know that you could actually smoke them," Lesnick said. Most of his cases are not quite so colorful, of course. He handled the Chapter 11 of the former L.A. Arts District restaurant Church & State, and he represented the franchisee of a number of Del Taco restaurants in an out-ofcourt restructuring. And many of his clients are the antithesis of fraudsters. For 20 years, he has represented various China-based makers of electronics, auto parts and textiles as creditors. "They ship millions of dollars worth of goods... just kind of on trust and honor," Lesnick said. "I'm constantly surprised by it, even though I see it all the time."


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