Mon Jul 2, 2012, 07:28 AM
marmar (63,335 posts)
Banksters Win Again
(Reuters) - The judge in the landmark bankruptcy of Alabama's Jefferson County sided with Wall Street creditors on Friday and sharply limited how the cash-strapped local government can use funds generated by its sewer system.
The ruling, in a months-long court dispute, aggravates a cash crunch for the county that may exhaust its general fund within three months.
In the dispute over the size of payments to owners of $3.2 billion of sewer-system debt, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Bennett said the county cannot pay legal fees and set aside charges for depreciation and amortization from net operating revenues owed to creditors.
The judge stopped county officials from putting current monthly revenues into reserves for capital projects, professional fees and other purposes not directly related to present operations - actions which reduced payments to creditors. .................(more)
The complete piece is at: http://news.yahoo.com/judge-gives-win-wall-street-alabama-bankruptcy-231755976.html
................Lest we forget how Jefferson County ended up in this mess..........................
Jefferson County, Alabama: Screwed By Wall Street, Still Paying
POSTED: April 7, 11:47 AM ET
by Matt Taibbi
The good times just keep coming for Jefferson County, Alabama. Last year I did a story for Rolling Stone about Wall Street's sacking of the Birmingham, Alabama region -- the city was roped into a series of deadly swap deals by a number of banks, most notably JP Morgan Chase, that left the county billions of dollars in debt.
The genesis of the whole affair was a sewer project that crooked local pols turned into a $3 billion money pit; when they turned to Wall Street to help finance their way out of the cost overruns, the banks leaned on the County to take on a series of swap deals that essentially pushed the debt into the future, but at geometrically increasing cost. Among other things, the banks worked through middlemen who bribed the local commissioners into taking the toxic deals. As a result of all of this, Jefferson County not only ended up saddled with an astronomical debt service on its sewer project, it also saw a downgrade in its overall credit rating, which left it paralyzed in its attempts to borrow money to pay for general expenditures.
Those financial chickens are now coming home to roost. Some of the people I spoke with during that story have been in touch lately to give me the gruesome updates. The most recent news is that the County is closing four courthouses in an attempt to save $21 million a year. Beyond that, there has been a spate of ugly news stories. A local judge recently appointed a New Jersey Water Works executive named John Young to serve as the receiver for the JeffCo sewer system. The appointment of the receiver came at the behest of Bank of New York Mellon, the trustee for most of the county's debt -- Young's job will be to jack up sewer rates in order to pay off the $515 million of sewer debt the city defaulted on.
I got a number of outraged emails from County residents who noted that Young's salary will be $500 an hour. This unelected official will be paid $4000 a day for the job of raising sewer rates on citizens who never once voted for a new sewer project, never voted to accept any of the swap deals, and in general were deprived of any input into any of the financing messes once the few elected officials who were involved started taking bribes from the banks. ........(more)
The complete piece is at: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/jefferson-county-alabama-screwed-by-wall-street-still-paying-20110407#ixzz1zPtl0y7w
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." -- Nelson Mandela
4 replies, 807 views
Banksters Win Again (Original post)
Response to marmar (Original post)
Mon Jul 2, 2012, 08:03 AM
fasttense (15,050 posts)
1. The politicians who made these supposed loans on behalf of the people
have been found guilty of accepting bribes and other crimes and are in jail. But the fruit of their crime is to be honored??????
Why are these loans being treated as if they are fair and legal transactions? They were made by fraudulent and corrupt means so why are the loans NOT considered fraudulent too? The banks, and the politicians involved, committed crimes to get these loans in the name of the people, yet why are the loans considered legal?
Let's say a Nigerian Prince gets me to put money in an account and I sign a contract to put in $400 a month for 10 years. Unbeknown to me he has access to this account and he is stealing my money. Then the con artist is exposed for what he is and he goes to jail. He does NOT have the right to demand I continue to put money in that account. The contract was made under fraudulent means. Yet the DA and the courts in Jefferson county are acting as if the Nigerian Prince scam is legit. I just don't get why they are still paying out on these fraudulent loan deals.
Response to fasttense (Reply #1)
Mon Jul 2, 2012, 01:39 PM
elleng (43,730 posts)
2. Because they have to be,
they're legal contracts. Unfortunately its not feasable to go behind contracts to dispose of them. So, along w banksters, the crooked pols 'profit.' Hopefully other jurisdictions won't similarly succumb (I know, they already have.)
Response to elleng (Reply #2)
Mon Jul 2, 2012, 05:26 PM
mbperrin (7,335 posts)
3. A contract is a starting point for negotiation.
Things change, and so does the validity of a contract.
I would imagine a good attorney here would argue that the good citizens of the area are being deprived of their money without being found guilty of anything.
Or sue the crooked bastards and the banks who made the deals on that basis.
People are far more important than paper. That's why old money is a collector's item and an art piece, no longer money.
"No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up." - Lily Tomlin