06/30/2010 11:00PM

Court approves Zayat settlement


A New Jersey bankruptcy court judge approved the settlement between Ahmed Zayat's Zayat Stables and Fifth Third Bank on June 30 in Newark, N.J., clearing the way for Zayat to begin operating his nationally prominent stable under terms of a Chapter 11 reorganization plan.

Under terms of the settlement, Fifth Third, which sued Zayat Stables for more than $34 million last December, will vote to approve the stables' reorganization plan in a bankruptcy court hearing on July 15. Zayat Stables filed for bankruptcy in February to protect its assets from Fifth Third's attempt to appoint a receiver for the stable's horses, and Zayat filed a countersuit against the bank in April, alleging deceptive and predatory lending practices. The settlement ends both suits.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Zayat said he was "thrilled" by the settlement's approval.

"This is a huge step forward, not only for Zayat Stables, but for the entire equine industry," he said. "With all outstanding matters finally resolved, we can keep our focus where it needs to be -- on breeding and racing some of the top horses in America."