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Municipal Bankruptcies

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 80 minutes
Recorded Date: May 22, 2019
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  • Municipal Bankruptcies
  • Pension Treatment in Municipal Restructurings
  • Municipal Bankruptcies: Confirming a Plan of Adjustment
  • Key Differences from Chapter 11 and Chapter 9
  • Title IV
Runtime: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Recorded: May 22, 2019


Join this session for an update on Puerto Rico and to discuss recent developments and ramifications beyond Puerto Rico; equitable mootness (JeffCo); and reviewing pension issues in prior and existing municipal bankruptcies, as well as prospective municipal bankruptcies (e.g., Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut).

This program was recorded as part of ABI's New York City Bankruptcy Conference on May 22nd, 2019.

Provided By

American Bankruptcy Institute
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Matthew Rodrigue

Managing Director
Miller Buckfire & Co., LLC

Matthew Rodrigue is a Managing Director of Miller Buckfire. Since joining Miller Buckfire, Mr. Rodrigue’s company-side experience includes representing 888 Holdings, General Growth Properties, Ingenco Holdings, LodgeNet Interactive Corporation, Mervyns Department Stores, UniTek Global Services and Wolverine Advanced Materials. Creditor-side and buyside experience includes representing the secured lenders to Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, Coldwater Creek, and FairPoint Communications. He has also represented buyers in the auctions of Borders, Inc., MSD Performance, and Spheris, Inc.

Prior to joining Miller Buckfire, Mr. Rodrigue worked in corporate strategy for NewPage Corporation. Preceding that, he was a team leader at the engineering, science and operations consulting firm, Woodard & Curran.

Mr. Rodrigue holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Maine, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maine. He currently serves on the Board of Visitors of the University of Maine.

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Hon. Robert E. Grossman

U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York

Robert E. Grossman is a bankruptcy judge for the United States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of New York. He was sworn in on April 18, 2008, and his current term will expire on April 17, 2022. Judge Grossman also has a visiting judgeship on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Grossman began his career in the Division of Enforcement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Next, he became the founder of a large financial services company, where he worked as general counsel. He also worked for Arent Fox and Duane Morris. Grossman also works as an adjunct professor of Touro Law School.

Grossman received an undergraduate degree from Rider University and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

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Robert D. Gordon

Jenner & Block

Robert D. Gordon is a partner in the firm’s Restructuring and Bankruptcy Practice. He represents and provides strategic counsel to distressed companies, significant creditor constituencies, and other parties-in-interest in complex and high-stakes corporate and public-sector restructurings. Currently, Mr. Gordon is serving as counsel to the Official Committee of Retirees in the restructuring proceedings for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, representing the interests of approximately 160,000 public-sector retirees, owed approximately $58 billion in connection with the funding of their accrued pensions.

Before joining the firm in 2017, Mr. Gordon served as special restructuring counsel to the Detroit Retirement Systems in the City of Detroit’s landmark Chapter 9 bankruptcy case. With extensive knowledge of bankruptcy law and how it can affect corporations and governmental entities, Mr. Gordon provides insight and informed guidance to parties confronting insolvency issues and distressed situations.

In addition to his central role in the public-sector bankruptcy and restructuring proceedings of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the City of Detroit, Mr. Gordon has played key roles in numerous private-sector restructurings arising out of a broad range of industries, including automotive, real estate, gaming, hospitality, retail, manufacturing, aviation, and telecommunications. Among his clients are distressed companies, creditors’ and retirees’ committees, pension systems, secured and unsecured creditors, distressed-asset investors, lessors, trustees and liquidating agents. He is able to achieve superior results for his clients by simultaneously bringing creativity and pragmatism to engagements while deftly leveraging legal positions. He provides both effective transactional advice from a creditors’ rights perspective and skilled litigation representation, including in fraudulent transfer actions, preference actions, and other commercial and bankruptcy-related litigation, and has argued cases before numerous courts.

Mr. Gordon is also currently serving as a federal court-appointed receiver in a Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement action involving an international Ponzi scheme. He is also a member of the National Association of Federal Equity Receivers (NAFER).

Mr. Gordon has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America in the area of Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law every year from 2010 to the present. He is a frequent speaker on, among other topics, municipal bankruptcy, including its potential impact on retiree benefits. He is also a member of the firm’s Hiring Committee.

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Luc A. Despins

Partner, Corporate Dept.
Paul Hastings LLP

Luc Despins is chair of the Global Restructuring practice and a partner in the Corporate practice of Paul Hastings and is based in the firm’s New York office.

Mr. Despins is a bankruptcy practitioner with over 30 years of experience representing debtors and creditors in some of the most high profile and complex restructuring matters. He is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading financial restructuring lawyers and has been cited on numerous occasions for his role in major bankruptcies.

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Alice J. Byowitz

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Alice J. Byowitz’s practice focuses primarily on general corporate restructuring and bankruptcy matters.

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Richard G. Mason

Senior Partner, Restructuring and Finance
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Richard G. Mason (Ricky) is a senior partner in Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and the chair of the Firm’s Restructuring and Finance Department.

Ricky represents bank and bondholder groups, acquirers, distressed investors, boards of directors, private equity sponsors and other significant creditors and shareholders in domestic and international matters. He has had leading roles in many of the largest and most complex bankruptcies and out of court restructurings over the past two decades, including Energy Future Holdings, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), Hawker Beechcraft, Kerzner International, FairPoint Communications, Masonite, Spectrum Brands and Delphi Corporation.

A co-author of Collier’s Bankruptcy Practice Guide, Ricky speaks on insolvency subjects at prominent institutions around the world, including the American Bankruptcy Institute/New York University School of Law Bankruptcy and Business Reorganization Workshop, Columbia University Business School, the Canadian Institute, LUISS Guido Carli (Rome), Israeli Ministry of Justice and Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance (Dubai).

Ricky is a Conferee of the National Bankruptcy Conference, whose primary purpose is to advise the United States Congress on bankruptcy law. He is a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy and the American Bar Foundation. Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers identifies Ricky as one of the leading restructuring lawyers in the United States. K&A Restructuring Register lists him as one of America’s top restructuring advisors. Recently, Who’s Who Legal named Ricky a Global Elite Thought Leader in Restructurings and Best Lawyers recognized him among its ‘Lawyers of the Year’ for 2019.

Ricky graduated magna cum laude from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1983 with a B.S. in Economics. He was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor fraternity while at VCU. Ricky received a J.D. cum laude from New York University in 1987. At NYU, he became a member of the Order of the Coif and was on the staff of the Annual Survey of American Law.

Ricky is an active volunteer for several non-profit organizations. A Distinguished Eagle Scout, Ricky is the President of the Boy Scouts of America’s Greater New York Councils, which serves tens of thousands of young men and women in New York City. He is also a co-chair of the Bankruptcy and Reorganization Group of the UJA-Federation of New York’s Lawyers Division.

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Susheel Kirpalani

Quin Emanuel Urquhart & Sullvian, LLP

Susheel Kirpalani is a partner and chairs the Bankruptcy and Restructuring Group at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP in New York, where his practice concentrates on creditors’ rights, bankruptcy litigation and out-of-court restructurings. He has broad experience in the resolution of bankruptcy and financial disputes in some of the most complex recent chapter 11 cases, including representing the independent manager of NII International Telecom; serving as the court-appointed examiner and mediator in Dynegy; representing statutory creditors’ committees in SemGroup, Sentinel, Refco and Enron; serving as conflicts counsel to estate fiduciaries in Lehman Brothers, Idearc, Washington Mutual and Solutia; representing the officers and directors of Lukoil Americas Corp.; and representing the controlling stockholder in LyondellBasell and Sbarro. He also has broad experience in international insolvencies, leading the firm’s engagements for Dubai World in drafting Dubai’s bankruptcy legislation for public decree companies, and for the joint liquidators of Kingate Global and Euro Funds in the SIPC proceeding against Bernard L. Madoff’s defunct firm.

Previously, Mr. Kirpalani was the youngest lawyer ever elected partner at the law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. He has been recognized in The Deal as one of eight attorneys “poised to become significant figures in the bars of cities ranging from Houston to Paris.” He was also recognized in Law360 as one of the 10 most admired bankruptcy attorneys in the country. In 2010, Chambers USA ranked him in Band One, and in 2013, The American Lawyer named him “Dealmaker of the Year.” Mr. Kirpalani is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a recipient of the South Asian Bar Association of New York’s Litigation Achievement Award.

He received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, where he served as associate editor of the Fordham Law Review from 1993-94.

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