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PA state capitol Harrisburg files for (rare) Chapter 9 Bankruptcy

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Author Topic: PA state capitol Harrisburg files for (rare) Chapter 9 Bankruptcy  (Read 260 times)
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« on: October 12, 2011, 02:35:22 pm »

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/12/harrisburg-bankruptcy-idUSN1E79B0DS20111012

by Edith Honan

Oct 12 (Reuters) - Pennsylvania's capital, Harrisburg, filed for a rare Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy on Wednesday after it was unable to resolve its debt crisis with creditors and faced a possible takeover by the state. Harrisburg becomes one of the biggest cities to opt for the little-used chapter of the U.S. bankruptcy code.

Orange County, California, filed the largest Chapter 9 bankruptcy nearly 20 years ago after losing more than $1 billion in soured investments. Harrisburg said in a court filing it was unable to continue paying for critical services as well as roughly $300 million in debt that funded an incinerator project. Mark Schwartz, the council's attorney in this matter, said that the bankruptcy filing would give the city "bargaining power" with its creditors and with the state, which is considering a takeover plan.

"They were tired of being humiliated and denigrated," he said of the council members who voted for a bankruptcy filing on Tuesday. Chapter 9 is "a much better forum if you really want to address the financial problems of the city," Schwartz added. The city's bondholders and the surrounding county of Dauphin have sued Harrisburg to seek a ruling that all tax revenue be directed first to bond payments. The city said it cannot make such payments and still provide for the health and safety of its residents.

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