The judge in Adelphia Communications Corp.'s bankruptcy case on Tuesday extended an order to freeze the founding Rigas family's assets except for those needed to pay for their living expenses and legal costs.
The decision came after an emergency request from Adelphia late Monday, seeking a temporary restraining order on all Rigas assets.
Adelphia, the nation's sixth-largest cable operator, filed for Chapter 11 protection in June and secured a freeze from the court two months later on sale and transfer of real estate by founder John Rigas and his family.
By extending the freeze while leaving room for certain expenses, Judge Robert Gerber said "the Rigases are allowed to maintain relatively normal lives and pay their legal bills."
The judge set a hearing for Dec. 6 to consider a preliminary injunction order on the Rigases' assets and, at that time, a detailed budget on the family's living expenses is expected to be presented to the court.
Meanwhile, Judge Gerber also granted Adelphia's request to set up an escrow account to hold the proceeds -- after the deduction of necessary living expenses -- the Rigases are receiving for selling timber on land near the company's headquarters in Coudersport, Pa., and for collecting rents from property in Roslyn, N.Y.
Adelphia sued the Rigases in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York on July 25 -- the day after John Rigas and his sons Timothy and Michael were arrested by federal prosecutors on charges of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the company.
The company's suit charges that off-the-books transactions and self-dealing by the Rigas family resulted in loss in the company's market value and other damages totaling more than $1 billion.