MINNEAPOLIS – Jim Ward knew the paperwork was piling up in Northwest Airlines Corp.’s bankruptcy file. But on top of the thousands of pages of court documents Ward added his own – an emotional, handwritten letter to Judge Allan Gropper that rails against Northwest managers and the mistakes that Ward believes led them into bankruptcy. He even invited Gropper to visit the Twin Cities to see the impact on laid-off workers like him. “I hope you want to hear all the facts. Because if you don’t than (sic) I’m no better off than some poor schmuck in some South American country,” wrote Ward, a mechanic. His letter is among dozens of dozens of heartfelt correspondences from Northwest workers desperate to catch judge Gropper’s ear. Some try flattery. One questions whether he’s on the take. One flight attendant even tells him, “I want you to know that I pray for you daily,” and asks him to be fair to workers. “The reason that I tell you my fathers (sic) story is he is the type of leader that we need at Northwest,” he wrote. “If you can find a man of his character and leadership qualities, and an expert in the airline industry … please send him our way to help this sinking ship.” Larson didn’t return phone calls after initially agreeing to be interviewed for this story. Like Larson asking for the judge to pick a CEO, many of the letters ask for more than a bankruptcy judge can give. While the judge must approve executive pay packages, he can’t pick the executives. Some letters ask Gropper to bring back the striking mechanics, something else beyond his power. But as the case goes on he’ll decide how long Northwest can take to reorganize, and will approve or reject its reorganization plan. Northwest also needs his permission to reject union contracts. Ward’s handwritten letter invited Gropper to the Twin Cities for some “field research.” “I’m sure you have the power to have Northwest let you and I tour the maintenance facility so you might have a better feel and understanding of what’s at stake,” wrote Ward, who was laid off from his job more than two years ago, before the current strike began. “I hope I haven’t offended you with my candid comment because I am definitely in a ‘David vs. Goliath’ battle and I need someone that’s in a position to make change hear my arguments.” Ward now works seven days a week at two jobs after losing his $72,000-a-year position at Northwest. He said in an interview that he didn’t really expect Gropper to see his letter. But he plans to write again because he feels so strongly that Northwest and other airlines are compromising safety by using outside companies to maintain their planes. He said he’d like to ask Gropper, “Can you really find out everything you need to know within the four walls of your chamber, your courtroom? Where you’re hearing it all from biased, stuff-shirt lawyers? Would it kill you to come out here and hear from the little guy?” Through a law clerk, Gropper declined to comment on the letters, which are posted on the court’s online filing system. Such letters aren’t uncommon in bankruptcy cases. Ronald Barliant, a bankruptcy attorney in Chicago who handled such cases when he was a judge from 1988 to 2002, said he personally didn’t spend a lot of time with them. Many were complaints from employees of the bankrupt company, “which is more than understandable, but there’s almost never anything I can do about it,” he said. Some of the letters to Gropper seem to be tugging over his soul. One letter writer – it wasn’t clear whether she worked for Northwest – accused the judge of siding with managers no better than those at the defunct Enron Corp., wondered whether he had any morals and warned that God would judge his actions. (The writer didn’t cite any particular decision by the judge.) The flight attendant who promised to pray for him – her signature was illegible – sympathized with Gropper’s “enormous responsibility and burden.” She went on to thank him for using his “gift of insight and wisdom to be fair to the lives of so many.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week On Wednesday, Gropper approved interim agreements with the pilots and flight attendants that included pay cuts of up to 24 percent and postponed until January a hearing to terminate Northwest’s collective-bargaining agreements with the pilots, flight attendants and machinists unions. Several of the letters profess love for a company they believe has been waylaid by poor management. Northwest, like all older airlines, has struggled in recent years with a punishing mix of high fuel prices, competition from discount carriers, and, in Northwest’s case, the highest labor costs in the industry. Northwest and Delta Air Lines Inc. both filed for Chapter 11 protection Sept. 14. A letter from Airbus A-320 co-pilot Rick Larson disputed executives’ reasons for the bankruptcy filing. “What we need is true leadership, and right now that leader is you,” he wrote to Gropper. Employees will sacrifice, he wrote, for leadership they trust. Larson recounted how his father, Elwin Larson, worked his way up from the bottom in a 42-year career to become president and CEO of the former Brooklyn Union Gas Co. in New York. Even after his father reached the top, his son wrote, he took a relatively modest salary.
Disha Patani cranked up the temperature a few degrees with a sultry picture of herself posing in lingerie. The actress showed off her figure in a lingerie set from the Calvin Klein Underwear collection.The smouldering snap is taking the internet by storm and has already garnered over 1.5 million likes on Instagram. Take a look:Last evening, Disha was at the launch of the new Calvin Klein Underwear store at DLF Promenade mall in Delhi. She was swarmed by a horde of cheering fans and took to Instagram to share a video from the event.”Thank you Delhi for the love and support, I love you guys so much. Gratitude,” she wrote. In less than four hours, the video has already garnered over 7,50,000 views.On the work front, Disha will be seen playing a trapeze artist named Radha in Ali Abbas Zafar’s Bharat. She will be paired opposite Salman Khan in the 1960s portion of the period drama, which also features Katrina Kaif, Sunil Grover, Tabu and Nora Fatehi in pivotal roles.advertisementDisha is eager to work with Salman in Bharat and told a leading daily, “I’m excited to be a part of Bharat, it’s like a dream come true to get an opportunity to work with Salman sir and I can’t wait for the journey to begin. I am a big fan of Ali Abbas sir’s work.”The actress is also gearing up to make her Tamil debut in Sundar C’s ambitious film Sangamithra. According to reports, the film is being made on a staggering budget of Rs 400 crore, and will be released in two parts. The actress has been learning sword-fighting and horse-riding to look convincing as a warrior princess.ALSO READ: Disha Patani wishes fans on Diwali in sports bra and lehenga, gets trolledALSO WATCH: Disha Patani talks about her personal style preferences