Goat Owners Get Left High and Dry by Lehman - WSJ.com

Goat Owners Get Left High and Dry by Lehman - WSJ.com - Dow...

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See a sample reprint in PDF format. Order a reprint of this article now PAGE ONE JANUARY 27, 2009, 1:50 P.M. ET By MICHAEL CORKERY and ALEX FRANGOS Some of the world's biggest banks and law firms are fighting over what's left of Lehman Brothers Holdings . And so are the owners of 1,000 goats. A Lehman-financed venture owes a company called Goats R Us about $53,000. The goats performed fire-prevention by munching shrubs and grass on a property the venture owns in Oakland, Calif. There's little hope now that the bill will be paid, and that makes Terri Oyarzun, the founder of Goats R Us, bleating mad. She says she has had to put off buying a new truck to transport the goats, and she can't hire new herders. "This is not how I operate my business," she says. Lehman's collapse and bankruptcy filing in September left an eclectic group of businesses and individuals clamoring for what they're owed. About $43 billion of Lehman's $639 billion in assets was from the firm's far-flung real-estate operations, which included housing projects, resorts, office buildings and other properties all over the world. Those hurt include hydrologists near San Francisco and chambermaids in Palm Springs. Also left in the lurch were Chinese laborers who were flown into the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies to help build a Ritz-Carlton resort. The workers stopped getting paychecks abruptly after the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. About 60 of them followed managers of the project around the property until they finally got paid. Many vendors didn't know that their fates were tied to the high-flying investment bank. "For Lehman Brothers, we are a speck, a drop," says Ms. Oyarzun. Lehman declined to comment for this story. A World Away The hills of East Oakland where the goats grazed couldn't have been further removed from the frenetic world of derivatives, swaps and forward contracts. The animals were hired by Lehman's partner, SunCal Cos., California's
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Goat Owners Get Left High and Dry by Lehman - WSJ.com - Dow...

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