A rare public battle between a bankruptcy judge and a U.S. Trustee has erupted in the complex Chapter 11 petition of Refco Inc.

U.S. Trustee Deirdre Martini, Region 2, has accused Judge Robert Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan of overstepping his legal authority and thus undercutting the bankruptcy watchdog functions given to her office by the U.S. Justice Department.