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Tops Markets bankruptcy tab: $1.1 million and counting

The tab for the financial consultants and lawyers and investment bankers working for Tops Markets during its bankruptcy is at more than $1.1 million and counting.

And that's just through the end of March.

The bulk of the professional services expenses are for FTI Consulting, the financial restructuring firm that is taking a lead role in Tops' restructuring efforts. FTI's expenses from the time Tops filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Feb. 21 through the end of March totaled $882,300, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Nearly $230,000 of that total goes to pay for the professional services of Michael Buenzow, FTI's senior managing director who is serving as Tops' chief restructuring officer during the bankruptcy process. Another FTI executive, Armen Emrikian, who is serving as Tops' associate chief restructuring officer, billed the supermarket chain nearly $228,000 for his professional services.

Tops' investment banker, Evercore Group, submitted a $141,200 bill for its services through March.

The supermarket chain's co-counsel, Buffalo law firm Hodgson Russ, billed Tops $90,300 for its services through March 31.

The tab also includes nearly $50,000 in expenses incurred by FTI during the first five weeks of the bankruptcy process. That includes $23,000 in airfare and nearly $17,600 in lodging expenses, as well as $7,300 in ground transportation costs and $7,600 in meal expenses.

FTI said in the court documents that it caps meal expenses at $25 per person for breakfast and $55 per person for dinner. Its bill does not include lunch expenses. FTI also said it bills non-working travel time for the seven FTI employees working on the Tops case at half of the actual time. FTI's hourly rates range from $250 an hour for professional staff members to $1,075 an hour for Buenzow.

Tops' other co-counsel, the New York City law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, has not yet submitted its first bill to the Bankruptcy Court.

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