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Sears sues Kunal Kamlani & others

  SAI Bureau) Chicago: Sears Holdings Corp sued longtime former Chairman Eddie Lampert, his hedge fund ESL Investments and others like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, claiming they illegally siphoned billions of dollars of assets from the retailer before it went bankrupt. The lawsuit, made public on Thursday, was filed by the restructuring team winding down Sears' bankruptcy estate and suing on behalf of creditors, many of whom blame Lampert for the retailer's downfall.It followed the billionaire's $5.2 billion purchase in February of most Sears assets, including the DieHard and Kenmore brands, after a bankruptcy auction.The complaint seeks the repayment of "billions of dollars of value looted from Sears," including while it was in what Lampert would later call a "death spiral" where it sold core assets to meet daily expenses with no real plan for becoming profitable."Had defendants not taken these improper and illegal actions, Sears would have had billions of dollars more to pay its third-party creditors today and would not have endured the amount of disruption, expense, and job losses resulting from its recent bankruptcy filing," the complaint said.Sears filed for Chapter 11 protection in October after a prolonged decline under Lampert marked by large losses, scant investment and lost market share to retailers such as Walmart Inc, Home Depot Inc and Amazon.com Inc.Others sued include ESL President Kunal Kamlani; Bruce Berkowitz and his Fairholme Capital Management, which was a large Sears shareholder; and Seritage Growth Properties, which took over 266 of Sears' best stores in a 2015 spinoff.
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