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Zell attorney objects to Tribune bankruptcy plans

WILMINGTON, Del. — An attorney for billionaire developer Sam Zell, who engineered a buyout that left Tribune Co. saddled with debt, says proposals to reorganize the media company’s finances aren’t fair to his client.

Attorney David Bradford says the proposals do not adequately protect Zell from lawsuits that threaten to injure his reputation and waste Tribune’s assets.

Bradford made his case to the bankruptcy judge overseeing the case in Delaware on Wednesday.

The judge says claims against Zell could have merit, although he has yet to make a final decision on whether an official committee of Tribune creditors can pursue certain allegations against Zell.

The judge is conducting a hearing to determine whether to approve either of two reorganization proposals — one made by the company, and the other by some senior noteholders.