The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY
This is a bankruptcy proceeding. The matter relates to two questions:
(1) Did the Referee commit error in refusing to extend the time for the filing of a petition for review?
(2) If the Referee did err, do the facts and circumstances justify setting aside the sale and re-exposing the assets to a further public sale?
A petition in bankruptcy was filed against People Cab Company, Inc., on October 5, 1949. On October 14, 1949, the receiver presented a petition in which leave of court was requested to sell the physical assets of the bankrupt estate, which consisted of eighty taxi cabs which were encumbered with chattel mortgages in the amount of approximately $ 73,000.00. An Order was entered in which the 21st day of October, 1949 was fixed as the date to consider the offer of William Rothman for the purchase of said assets. Hearing was held before another member of this court and when the proceeding became somewhat heated and involved, it was referred to the Referee in Bankruptcy to conduct the sale de novo.
William Rothman offered to purchase the physical assets, eighty taxi cabs, under the following conditions:
(a) Absolute payment of $ 44,000.00 to the receiver without limitation.
(b) Assumption of liens against the taxi cabs in the amount of approximately $ 75,000.00.
(c) Said payments to be made subject to the risk of the purchaser in securing transfer approval from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Peoples Cab Company, Inc., a corporation, was adjudicated a bankrupt on October 21, 1949.
The offer was accepted by the Referee and the sale to William H. Rothman was confirmed on October 21, 1949, since he was the highest unequivocal bidder.
Some three months after the confirmation of the sale, a petition was presented to the court by Charles C. McGovern, as a creditor, to extend the time for review of the sale and for the issuance of a rule on the receiver and Rothman to show cause why the sale should not be set aside and the property re-exposed to sale. The Order was signed ex parte, without prejudice to the right of any person in interest to question the jurisdiction of the court. Since various phases of the proceeding had been heard by another member of this court, who is now ill, and other matters had been referred to the Referee in Bankruptcy, I believe that the interests of justice would be best subserved by referring the questions raised to the Referee in Bankruptcy. The Referee has filed his report together with his findings of fact and conclusions of law.
No useful purpose could be gained by reciting the numerous facts and details which are set forth in the findings, conclusions and report of the Referee in Bankruptcy.
The findings of a Referee in Bankruptcy on oral evidence are entitled to great weight. In re Barcia, 2 Cir., 147 F.2d 288; In re ...