With a battle looming between Detroit and public pension funds representing retired city workers, the city on Monday added another law firm, Pepper Hamilton, to the roster of outside counsel working on its Chapter 9 filing. Meanwhile, a second firm, Clark Hill, confirmed it was ending its federal lobbying contract with the embattled city.
Deborah Kovsky-Apap, a corporate restructuring and bankruptcy partner with Pepper Hamilton in the Detroit suburb of Southfield,
notified the court
and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge
of her role as counsel of record to the Motor City.
Reached by phone late Monday, Kovsky-Apap—who joined Pepper Hamilton in 2005 from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, where she had been an associate—declined a request for comment about the firm’s role in the
record-setting Chapter 9 case
. Pepper Hamilton is serving as special litigation counsel to Detroit,
according to a Friday report by our former colleague
, Standard & Poor's bankruptcy reporter John Bringardner.
One matter in which Kovsky-Apap is already involved, along with Pepper Hamilton corporate restructuring cochair Robert Hertzberg, is the city's suit against a unit of Bermuda-based Syncora Holdings over the the bond insurer's effort to capture revenues from the ailing city’s three casinos. That suit,
which was initially filed in state court
, was removed to federal court in Detroit on July 11.
Pepper Hamilton has its share of experience when it comes to Detroit legal imbroglios, having once incurred at least a five-figure legal tab several years ago by representing disgraced ex-mayor and attorney Kwame Kilpatrick,
according to our previous reports
Meanwhile, Detroit-based Clark Hill confirmed to
The Am Law Daily over the weekend that it would cease handling federal lobbying work for Detroit due to a conflict related to its representation of two pension funds suing the city over what the plaintiffs claim is an attempt to slash retiree benefits by filing for bankruptcy that is barred by the state constitution.
Monday's filing by Clark Hill does not include an official termination of the lobbying contract. A hearing in Detroit's proposed bankruptcy case has been scheduled for Tuesday.
Additional reporting by Sara Randazzo.