Karen's Feed
Jan 26, 2015

East Coast snow storm delays $1.7 billion of U.S. municipal sales

By Karen Pierog and Lisa Lambert

(Reuters) – U.S. municipal bond market supply shrank on Monday in the face of an East Coast blizzard, with Pennsylvania pushing off a $1 billion general obligation debt sale until next week and cash-strapped Atlantic City delaying a $12 million bond anticipation note deal.

Altogether, issuers postponed $1.7 billion of municipal bond sales, including more than two-thirds of the week’s competitive deal calendar, as what the National Weather Service called a “crippling and potentially historic blizzard” bore down on Wall Street.

Jan 15, 2015

Caesars files Chicago bankruptcy, halted by Delaware judge

WILMINGTON, Delaware/CHICAGO Jan 15 (Reuters) – The
operating unit of Caesars Entertainment Corp, the
largest U.S. casino company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on
Thursday in Chicago to cut $10 billion of debt, but a Delaware
judge intervened to halt the case before it got started.

The legal standoff marked the opening of a new phase in what
have already been complex and contentious debt negotiations
after the company ran up years of losses.

Jan 12, 2015

New Illinois governor to order spending freeze

CHICAGO, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Illinois’ new governor, Bruce
Rauner, took his first shot on Monday at addressing the state’s
crippling financial crisis, saying he will order all state
agencies to freeze non-essential spending.

In his inaugural address following his taking the oath of
office, the Republican first-time officeholder said Illinois’
history of bad fiscal management was hurting the state’s ability
to compete.

Jan 12, 2015

Big fiscal mess awaits new Illinois governor

CHICAGO, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Illinois’ new governor, Bruce
Rauner, will begin tackling perhaps the biggest fiscal mess in
the nation, and the worst his state has seen in decades, when he
is sworn in Monday.

But the Republican is offering few details on how he will
proceed and how he plans to fix a political culture in the state
capitol that he described as broken during the campaign.

Dec 30, 2014

Fees, expenses for Detroit bankruptcy hit nearly $178 million

By Karen Pierog and Lisa Lambert

(Reuters) – Detroit’s historic bankruptcy, which officially
ended earlier this month, cost the city nearly $178 million in
fees and expenses for teams of lawyers and consultants,
according to a city court filing on Tuesday.

Jones Day, Detroit’s lead law firm for the biggest-ever
municipal bankruptcy which was filed by the city in July 2013,
billed the most by far, at $57.9 million.

Dec 30, 2014

Analysis: Illinois may have little chance of overturning ruling on pension reform

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The state of Illinois will likely find
it difficult in 2015 to get to grips with its crippling $105
billion unfunded pension liability for government workers,
pension and legal analysts warned. Judgments in another state,
Arizona, are one of the reasons for their pessimism.

In March, Illinois officials will try to persuade the
state’s highest court to overturn a November lower court ruling
that declared unconstitutional a 2013 law seeking to extend
reduced pension benefits to all state workers. But the court
rulings in Arizona show that Illinois, which has the worst
funded pensions of any U.S. state, may not have much chance.

Dec 22, 2014

Michigan board votes to send state money to Detroit pension funds

By Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – A Michigan board on Monday agreed to send nearly
$195 million in state funds to Detroit’s two retirement systems
on Feb. 9 as part of a pivotal deal that helped to end the
city’s historic bankruptcy, a state spokesman said.

Jeremy Sampson, a spokesman for Michigan’s Treasury
Department, said the three-member Michigan Settlement
Administration Authority took the action after the city’s
bankruptcy reached certain triggers, including the dismissal of
legal claims against the state that were related to the
bankruptcy.

Dec 16, 2014

Unions, retirees sue to block Chicago pension changes

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A group of Chicago labor unions and
retirees filed a lawsuit on Tuesday seeking to void an Illinois
law aimed at shoring up funding for two of the city’s public
pension systems.

The plaintiffs, who include the Chicago Teachers Union and
the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Council 31, contend the law, enacted in June, violates the
Illinois Constitution by reducing pension benefits for workers
and retirees in Chicago’s Municipal Employees Annuity and
Benefit Fund.

Dec 10, 2014

Illinois Supreme Court speeds up pension reform law appeal

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday
fast-tracked the state’s appeal of a trial court ruling that
found a new law aimed at easing the state’s huge pension burden
unconstitutional.

The court ordered public labor unions and retiree groups
challenging the law and the state to file their briefs in
January and February with oral arguments to be scheduled in
March. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan had asked the
court last week to speed up the appeal process.

Dec 9, 2014

Opponents of Illinois pension reform law fight fast-track appeal

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Public labor unions and others
challenging a 2013 law aimed at easing Illinois’ pension burden
objected on Tuesday to a fast-tracking of the state’s appeal of
a lower court’s ruling that the law is unconstitutional.

State Attorney General Lisa Madigan last week asked the
Illinois Supreme Court to speed up the appeal of Sangamon County
Court Judge John Belz’s Nov. 21 ruling, requesting oral
arguments as soon as Jan. 22 and no later than March 10.