From Bloomberg –
April 11 (Bloomberg) — They’re talking more about Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in Jefferson County, Alabama, the home of the largest city in the state, Birmingham.
Who can blame them?
The county is now being whipsawed by an ill-thought-out debt policy and the collapse of the bond insurers. Credit-rating downgrades all around have triggered a series of events that are no longer in the county’s control, leaving it at the mercy of securities firms that have little room for maneuver themselves.
The bankruptcy will be the biggest in the municipal market’s history by virtue of the county’s debt load, according to the News. Jefferson County has $3.2 billion in sewer debt; Orange County lost $1.6 billion in its investment pool. I’m sure the matter will be debated. I’m also sure Orange County will be happy to pass the crown to Jefferson County.
There are going to be two acts to this drama. First, of course, is the actual filing itself. The county seems to think that this will allow it to hold its creditors at bay and proceed in a business-as-usual fashion. …
The second act of the Jefferson County bankruptcy is going to focus on Wall Street and all the banks, law firms, advisers and consulting firms that helped put the county where it is today. The county was not well-served, for all the money that changed hands. In this act, the county sues to get some of that money back.