Monday, October 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Lawyers rush to Harrisburg bankruptcy (Updated)

State, county and incinerator operator represented in fight for creditor cash

Lawyers rush to Harrisburg bankruptcy (Updated)

(With additional material) PA Gov. Tom Corbett, Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson, State Sen. Jeff Piccola, Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp., and other opponents of Harrisburg City Council's Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing all say they doubt the city's right to seek protection from creditors without permission from the state, which wants to be able to sell city assets and cut staff costs to pay down bonds from the city's troubled trash incinerator.

But that's not stopping lawyers from interested parties from filing representation notices. The case, Janney Capital Markets reports, has been assigned to Mary France, chief bankruptcy judge for the Middle District of PA in Harrisburg. Lawyers filing so far include:

- Eric L Brossman of Saul Ewing LLP on behalf of Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. As Harrisburg Council lawyer Mark Schwartz is fond of pointing out. Saul Ewing is the former firm of Stephen Aichele, Corbett's general counsel and a supporter of the proposed state takeover 

- Neal D. Colton of Philadelphia-based Cozen O'Connor, representing the state. Cozen is one of a handful of big firms that handle state business under both parties.

- Clayton William Davidson of Harrisburg's McNees Wallace & Nurick, for Dauphin County, Harrisburg's better-funded co-creditor in the incinerator debacle. Countly leaders also opposes the bankruptcy filing

- Paige Macdonald-Matthes of Serratelli, Schiffman & Brown, for incinerator operator Covanta Harrisburg Inc.

Council lawyer Schwartz, a onetime Democratic insider turned critic of the two-party "Pennsylvania establishment, says Council and the city controller's office are resisting the state's proposals in favor of, for example, a 1 percent commuter tax that state-government workers (and their elected officials) hate. 

See also Bond Buyer's take here.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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