Icahn’s Appeal of Temporary Court Order Denied
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A state appeals court has rejected a request by New York investor Carl Icahn to lift a court order temporarily barring him from buying more stock in Trans World Airlines Inc.
Lawyers for Icahn, who wants to own TWA, had asked a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals on Wednesday to quash an order issued Monday by St. Louis County Circuit Judge Bernhardt Drumm.
Drumm’s order stopped Icahn’s bid to take over the airline until June 17, when he has scheduled a hearing in the dispute.
″TWA is trying to buy time to prevent Mr. Icahn from doing what is his right - buying common stock,″ lawyer Robert Hoemeke told the appellate judges.
In a one-page ruling, the appellate panel rejected those arguments.
Drumm’s order said that preserving the status quo was ″vital to assure the plaintiff (TWA) an opportunity ... to pursue its claims to a hearing upon the merits before this court.″
Lawyers for the airline and the city of St. Louis told the appeals court panel that if the order were lifted, Icahn would be able to continue buying TWA stock, which would cause great harm to the airline and the state.
″TWA is not in a position where it can find a white knight to throw at Mr. Icahn,″ said Robert Dierker, a lawyer for the city.
Thomas Guilfoil, a lawyer for TWA, said that the case should be decided by Drumm.
″Was it within his juristiction for Judge Drumm to issue the temporary restraining order?. I think clearly it was,″ Guilfoil said. ″Was it constitutional? That’s an issue for appeal.″
Barry Short, another lawyer for Icahn, told the judges that Drumm’s order was ″unconstitutional″ because it gave TWA an unfair advantage in the dispute.
But Guilfoil said after the hearing that his client was concerned that Icahn was planning to dismantle the airline.
″It’s not just me who thinks so,″ he said ″(Missouri) Gov. John Ashcroft thinks so. The mayor of St. Louis thinks so. The mayor of Kansas City thinks so.″
TWA has its domestic passenger hub at St. Louis’ Lambert Field and the airline provides some 11,000 jobs in St. Louis and Kansas City, where it has extensive maintenance and engineering facilities.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge D. Brook Bartlett in Kansas City issued a federal temporary restraining order preventing Missouri officials from enforcing a state law designed to prevent Icahn from taking over TWA.
The law, passed by the Legislature in two days, requires takeover approval from two-thirds of TWA shareholders, instead of a simple majority. Icahn’s shares, which he announced Tuesday now total 32.77 percent, could not be counted. Bartlett has set a June 12 hearing in the case.