Karen's Feed
Sep 26, 2013

Illinois judge overrules governor, says lawmakers must be paid

CHICAGO, Sept 26 (Reuters) – An Illinois judge on Thursday
overruled Governor Pat Quinn, who had suspended the salaries of
state legislators, and ordered the lawmakers to receive back pay
with interest.

Quinn, a Democrat, suspended paychecks for the state
legislators this summer, saying they had failed to resolve a
financial crisis worsened by the ballooning cost of state
pension plans.

Sep 12, 2013

U.S. cigarette makers lose disputes with nine states in tobacco deal

By Karen Freifeld and Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – U.S. cigarette makers lost a bid to reduce payments to nine states that were part of a landmark 1998 tobacco settlement, an arbitration panel ruled on Wednesday.

The tobacco companies argued that at least 15 states had failed to diligently collect escrow payments from manufacturers that did not sign the 1998 agreement. That failure entitled participating manufacturers to lower payments.

Sep 7, 2013

Chicago mayor may still seek airport deal after talks called off

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A day after calling an abrupt halt to a bidding process for privatization of Midway Airport, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday sent signals that he still would like to pursue a deal in the future.

Emanuel late Thursday halted the city’s efforts to privatize operations of Chicago’s second-largest airport after one bidding consortium pulled out, leaving the city with only one prospective bidder.

Sep 6, 2013

Chicago mayor halts Midway Airport lease talks after bidder backs out

CHICAGO, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on
Thursday put the brakes on a deal to lease the city’s Midway
Airport because one of the two bidders dropped out, a
spokeswoman for the mayor said.

The two infrastructure investment consortia that entered
talks with the city about a possible lease of Chicago’s
second-largest airport included one combining Macquarie Group
Ltd and Ferrovial SA and the other combining
Industry Funds Management and Manchester Airport Group Plc.

Sep 3, 2013

Detroit defends contested swaps deal as key to city’s survival

DETROIT, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Detroit had no choice but to
strike a deal with holders of interest-rate swaps contracts as
the city scrambled to guarantee access to cash in the days
before its bankruptcy filing, according to depositions by the
city’s emergency manager and a key financial adviser.

The city has asked the federal judge overseeing its historic
municipal bankruptcy filing to approve the deal with Merrill
Lynch and UBS AG, which would allow Detroit to end the swaps at
a discount and give it unfettered access to casino tax revenue.
The casino money served as collateral for the swaps contracts.

Aug 14, 2013

Pension woes hit trading in Chicago’s bonds

CHICAGO, Aug 14 (Reuters) – Chicago bond prices are falling
in the U.S. municipal bond market as investors fret about the
city’s growing public pension burden.

Trades of certain Chicago general obligation bonds this week
have pushed the city’s so-called credit spread over Municipal
Market Data’s benchmark yield scale for triple-A-rated debt to
more than 190 basis points in the intermediate maturity range
from levels around 160 basis points.

Aug 2, 2013

U.S. bankruptcy court to shed light on Detroit case timeline

By Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – A court hearing on Friday may provide a roadmap for how Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing will unfold as the judge overseeing the case could set a speedy schedule, appoint a mediator and rule on other matters.

The hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court is a key step toward Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s effort to see the city emerge from the largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy filing in history by September 2014. But Detroit must first prove it qualifies to file for bankruptcy and then file a reorganization plan.

Jul 25, 2013

No monthly pay for Illinois lawmakers on Aug. 1 -Comptroller

CHICAGO, July 25 (Reuters) – Illinois lawmakers will not get
paid on Aug. 1 after Democratic Governor Pat Quinn refused to
approve their monthly compensation because they failed to reach
a deal to clean up the state’s dismal finances, Illinois
Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said on Thursday.

“This is no way to run government,” Topinka, a Republican,
said at a news conference, adding that she had no authority to
pay lawmakers over the objections of the governor.

Jul 19, 2013

Detroit raced to file bankruptcy ahead of move to block it

DETROIT (Reuters) – Detroit’s historic municipal bankruptcy filing on Thursday came less than 10 minutes before lawyers for the city’s pension funds and retirees had rushed to another court to try to block it.

The bare bones bankruptcy petition, which came at 4:06:22 p.m., blindsided everyone in the room, according to two lawyers who were in state court in Lansing, Michigan, at the time. Even the lawyer representing the governor and the judge were caught unaware.

Jul 6, 2013

Detroit sues bond insurer over blocked creditor talks

By Karen Pierog and Steve Neavling

(Reuters) – The city of Detroit filed a lawsuit against bond insurer Syncora Guarantee Inc claiming the company blocked an agreement the city hopes to conclude with major creditors involving revenue from the city’s three casinos.

The suit filed on Friday by Detroit’s state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, focuses on the city’s estimated $15 million a month casino tax revenue. The city maintains Syncora told U.S. Bank, which controls the casino funds that were used as collateral in a deal with creditors, not to give up to $11 million a month to Detroit.