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Texas Judge Refuses to Bar Himself From Hunt Cases

September 06, 1986|Associated Press

DALLAS — U.S. District Judge Barefoot Sanders on Friday refused to disqualify himself from considering cases involving the billionaire Hunt brothers of Texas.

Attorneys for William Herbert, Nelson Bunker and Lamar Hunt filed a motion Thursday to have Sanders removed after the judge set a deadline of Sept. 11 for bankruptcy cases involving Hunt companies to be transferred from New Orleans to Dallas.

The Hunts said Sanders should be removed from the cases, which include $14 billion in lawsuits filed by the Hunts against 23 major banks, because he owns stock in Allied Bancshares of Houston and has historical ties to the banking industry. Sanders' 1986 personal financial disclosure form shows an investment in Allied of between $100,000 and $250,000--his single largest stock-holding interest.

"The court does not have any financial interest in any of the parties to this lawsuit," Sanders replied in a document filed Friday.

"We think Judge Sanders' decision is outrageous," said Keith Burton, a spokesman for the Hunts, late Friday. On Thursday, Hunt spokesman Joe Grillo said that "having stock in any bank, particularly a Texas bank, is improper and leaves some doubt about the judge's impartiality."

On Thursday, Sanders ordered the Hunts' Placid Oil Co., one subsidiary and the William Herbert Hunt personal estate trust to file a motion to transfer petitions to U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas.

Stephen Gordon, one of the lawyers representing the three Hunts, said an appeal of Sanders' order will be filed with the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

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