What started off as a straightforward bankruptcy hearing for Howrey today turned rocky as the firm’s Washington, D.C., landlord threw a monkey wrench into the proceedings, and a $140 million settlement that had promised a huge contingency fee boost to the estate started unraveling.

Howrey and Citibank had agreed to let the firm to use $2.15 million in cash collateral from Citibank to get it through most of September. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali of San Francisco was poised to sign off on the order when Warner Investments counsel Gregg Kleiner flagged the landlord’s objection to the plan.

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