Bob’s Discount Furniture moved Tuesday to have U.S. Bankruptcy Court dismiss the Chapter 11 case filed last week by Bob’s Discount Off-Price Superstores Inc.

Bob’s Furniture is based in Connecticut. Bob’s Superstores is headquartered in Lewiston and run by Bob Dinan.

The two businesses have been locked in a court battle over the use of the Bob’s Discount name for a year, ever since Furniture Bob opened a store in South Portland.

A U.S. District Court judge in January ruled that both could use the name for the time being, but Furniture Bob’s asked the court in February to stop Superstore Bob’s from using the name permanently.

When Superstore Bob’s sought bankruptcy protection last week, Dinan’s lawyer, Jonathan Doolittle, reportedly told the court that the fight over the store’s name was in part to blame for a downturn in the company’s business.

On Tuesday, Bob Keach, the attorney representing Furniture Bob’s business in Maine, asked the bankruptcy court in Portland to toss out Superstore Bob’s Chapter 11 case. His motion claims the bankruptcy petition was filed “in bad faith” and that the “interests of creditors and the debtor would be better served by such dismissal.”

Keach added: “The only purpose of this case is to frustrate and delay the District Court case and to preclude (Furniture Bob’s) from protecting its rights.”

And he maintained in the motion that Superstore Bob’s “is not reorganizing; it is liquidating.”

Todd Holbrook, another attorney working on Furniture Bob’s behalf, said the bankruptcy court has scheduled a hearing on the motion next week on June 23.

It’s important for his client, Holbrook said, that the matter be settled quickly since the U.S. District Court was set to hear arguments on the use of the Bob’s Discount name in July.

In its bankruptcy filing, Superstore Bob’s Dinan listed scores of unsecured creditors. One Massachusetts’ mattress business is owed $186,203. He also listed himself as being owed $75,611 for a loan, and he owes money for property and workers’ compensation insurance and advertising debts.

In 2000, Dinan took out a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan for $1.28 million to help finance his purchase of the former Coca-Cola building on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. The building has become his flagship operation.

On Tuesday afternoon, USDA officials declined to confirm or deny that the loan remained outstanding, but said the agency would have guaranteed the loan but not actually lent Dinan the money to buy the property. Because that loan would be secured by the property, it wasn’t among the creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing.

In an interview in February 2000 when Dinan was buying the building, he noted that he had toured it with his mother hoping that she would be proud of the way he had grown his business.

“This is going to be awesome,” he said then.

He started in 1991 from a yard sale operation and at one time operated nine stores in Maine. Today he has four.

His lawyer, Doolittle, didn’t return a call from the Sun Journal on Tuesday afternoon. Neither did Dinan.



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