PENDLETON — The sun could be setting on the court battles over all things Hamleys.
Blair Woodfield and Parley Pearce have been locked in a legal dispute to split their ownership of the iconic Hamley western store, steak house and related ventures in downtown Pendleton. Woodfield put a stick in the spokes of that process in 2018 when he declared bankruptcy to prevent an auction. But a June 17 court filing in the case states Woodfield and Pearce are ready to let it go.
“The Partners having negotiated are now in agreement to liquidate the Hamleys holdings in Pendleton and to otherwise wind up all their jointly owned LLCs in an orderly manner,” according to the motion and notice to settle. To accomplish that, Woodfield, Pearce and their main creditor, Idaho-based HIPO, a limited liability company, “agreed to hold an auction sale for all the Hamleys assets.”
Woodfield in 2016 tried to work a deal from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton to buy the Hamley companies for $2 million, but Pearce never agreed to that.
Under the terms of the new deal, HIPO offered $2.5 million for the four limited liability companies that control Hamley businesses. The offer is good for 10 days for Woodfield’s approval, then would drop to $2 million and face “potential overbids.” Anyone wishing to bid more than $2 million would have to put it in writing and give it to HIPO’s lawyer, Britta Warren of Portland. Bidders proving they can make good on the cash within eight days meet at her office for an auction lasting four hours.
Any party submitting a qualified overbid, according to the filing, can attend the auction, along with Woodfield, Pearce, HIPO’s representative and the lawyers.
The sale of the Hamley assets to HIPO or the highest bidder shall close within 10 days of the bankruptcy court approving the agreement or within eight days after the end of the auction.
The deal does not set a date for the auction. That could come during the confirmation hearing the afternoon of Aug. 7 at the bankruptcy court in Portland. That’s a hearing for Woodfield and other parties to explain to the judge why the court should approve their plan.
Neither Woodfield nor Pearce returned calls seeking comment.
After the sale closes, Woodfield and Pearce have to work with the Hamley bookkeeper to calculate and pay all company debts, and bankruptcy Judge Peter McKittrick or a third-party arbitrator gets to settle any disputes that arise during that process.
Until then, according to the deal, the management of the Hamley companies remains status quo, with Woodfield overseeing the steak house and Pearce in charge of the western store.
The two former business partners also consented to the winning bidder appointing new managers of the Hamley businesses. And Woodfield agreed Pearce “may remain involved in some capacity” in Hamley operations after the sale.