FTC takes action on Fraudulent Mortgage Relief Companies

Every cent counts these days. And it is no wonder that scam programs are on the rise, including many so-called mortgage relief companies that promise to reduce your mortgage but deliver nothing. Of late the FTC has taken action on several fraudulent mortgage relief companies.

It is rather common for innocent homeowners looking for mortgage relief to fall for such companies, which is why the FTC has been stepping up their surveillance of these fraudulent schemes. Thus far, the FTC has shut down 85 companies that had been advertising their services online through Google advertising. The giant search engine company has also suspended the accounts of the companies concerned and has been cooperating with government efforts to fight this type of fraud. The FTC said they will continue to monitor Google’s efforts in being more vigilant in vetting through advertising campaigns from companies.

Meanwhile, the FTC has also put a stop to three fraudulent schemes run by companies that promised mortgage and debt relief services. The operators of the three schemes are ordered to:

• stop marketing any mortgage assistance relief product or service
• cease giving a wrong impression of the terms or rates of financial products and misrepresent the potential to improve the credit history of any debtor or their ability to obtain credit
• refrain from promoting the benefits of financial products without credible and concrete proof of such benefits;
• avoid misrepresenting any goods or service, including saying they have an affiliation with any government entity or program

In addition, they are also ordered to protect and properly dispose of customer personal information.
The first of the fraudulent schemes was run by Truman Foreclosure Assistance LLC, a Florida company who allegedly promoted bogus mortgage modification and foreclosure rescue services. According to the FTC’s allegation, Truman officials charged fees ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 per customer and falsely claimed that they could get their customers’ mortgages modified or prevent foreclosure of their houses. The company also offered a 100% money back guarantee and boasted a 90% success rate.

But after collecting the fees, the company did not perform as promised. In many cases, they did not even contact the customers’ lenders, and did not keep their customers informed of progress. It came as no surprise that the company did not honor their money back guarantee to customers who did not get their mortgages modified.

The operators behind Truman were Eli Hertz, Benzion Jack Itzkowitz, and Richard Zafrani, along with several other defendants. They were ordered to destroy all personal information like Social Security numbers and bank account details of their customers.

The second scheme involved several websites run by two companies Dominant Leads LLC and MAD TJ Holdings LLC and two individuals, James Rambadt (also known as James Kane) and Thomas Hayes, who advertised mortgage help and debt relief services. The websites were fedmortgageloans.com and fedhomeaffordableplan.com among others.

The perpetrators fraudulently promoted themselves as being affiliated to the federal or state government, and told consumers they were eligible for a federal or state government loan modification or debt relief program. The websites contained official government agency logos and links to the websites of federal government agencies such as HUD, the Treasury Department, and the White House.

The final fraudulent scheme also involved websites run by several individuals that duplicated the government’s makinghomeaffordable.gov website. The bona fide website is about the government’s program that enables eligible homeowners to refinance or modify their mortgages. The FTC has dealt with all the perpetrators of the fraud except the final one named Scott Lady.

When consumers search for the government’s Making Home Affordable program online, they are sent to the bogus website that promoted mortgage loan modifications with claims such as “Instantly Stop Foreclosure,” and “Guaranteed Solutions to Lower Your Rate Today”. The websites also collected the consumers’ personal details that Lady would sell to third parties.

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    T-Boz files for Bankruptcy for the Second Time

    Tionne Watkins, better known as “T-Boz” has filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in less than one year. In February, T-Boz formerly of Atlanta’s singing trio TLC , filed for bankruptcy but the case was dismissed the following month by the US bankruptcy court in Georgia. At that first filing, Watkins listed her assets as amounting to $1.892 million and her liabilities totaled $742,258.52.

    In her second bankruptcy filing, Watkins listed her total assets as worth $1.176 million, comprising mostly of her Duluth home and her liability amounts to $768,642.99, mostly due to her mortgage. She has two mortgages on her home – a primary mortgage of $577,000 on which she still owes $105,000 and a $153,000 secondary mortgage on which there is an arrears of $3,400. Between her first bankruptcy filing and her second, T-Boz has increased her mortgage load from $704,548.52 to $740,470.03.
    According to bankruptcy papers, the singer’s monthly income is $11,700, out of which $1,200 is royalties from her former career with TLC. But since the beginning of this year through October, Watkins reported her income as only $14,000 in total. She has since conducted two estate sales the last two months and raised $11,000. However, her monthly mortgage payment alone is $5,170 out of her total expenses of $8,821 every month.

    According to court papers, T-Boz’s home is valued at $1.2 million, and she still has a mortgage of $740,470.03 on the property outstanding. Other official assets of hers include household goods worth about $100,000, clothes valued at about $75,000, jewelry amounting to about $20,000, and exercise equipment worth $2,500. She also owns vehicles in the form of a 2001 Escalade, a 2005 Honda Odyssey and a 2006 Mercedes Benz CLS 500 worth a combined $45,500. But she still owes $8,284.75 on her Honda Odyssey and $2,850 on her Mercedes. Watkins also declared her cash in hand amounting to $1,000.

    In addition, the singer claims Mark Jefferson owes her a debt of $22,500 and her ex-husband Mack 10 has not paid her $250,000 in child support (she and Mack 10 have an 11-year old daughter together).
    To add to her problems, T-Boz has also been struggling with health issues and has been diagnosed with Sickle Cell disease before. Furthermore, she also developed a brain tumor in 2006, a condition for which Watkins received treatment. In 2009, she appeared on NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” and managed to raise $20,000 for the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia.

    Due to all her financial problems, Watkins filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy that allows her to restructure her debts and pay them off according to a court-approved schedule of payment over a maximum period of five years.

    If you are also struggling with financial problems, consider filing for bankruptcy protection also. It can be your pathway to a new financial future. Call us at (813) 200 4133 for a free consultation.

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      American Airlines files for Bankruptcy

      American Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection after its attempts to win a labour dispute with pilots ended unsuccessfully. Together with its parent company, AMR Corp, the airlines filed for bankruptcy November 29 after spiralling fuel costs had taken its toll.

      Over the past decade, AMR Corp was the only major airline company that managed to avoid bankruptcy whereas other airlines used bankruptcy protection to restructure their labour agreements and reduce costs. As a result, American Airlines became the only major airline to still fund worker pensions and pay the highest labour costs in the industry. Many industry observers have been expecting American Airlines to follow suit by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and they were not mistaken.

      This year, the airlines industry in the US is set to experience a slowdown as travel demand recedes. Most major airlines have cut down on their services as a result of the weak demand and American Airlines is no different.

      In bankruptcy papers, AMR disclosed that its cost cutting measures have not been enough to reduce the company’s losses largely due to skyrocketing fuel prices that pushed its cost of operations up by 40% in the third quarter in just one year. The company acknowledged that it must change its “uncompetitive cost structure”. “Without addressing the realities of the marketplace, AMR cannot be competitive with its peers,” according to the bankruptcy filing.

      Shares of American Airlines, the nation’s third largest airlines after United Continental and Delta Airlines, plunged 45% since the end of September. Last week, its shares fell to its lowest price since 2003, the year when AMR almost filed for bankruptcy.

      In its Chapter 11 bankruptcy papers, AMR listed its assets worth $24.72 billion against its liabilities of $29.55 billion. AMR said it has $4.1 billion in cash. Nevertheless, AMR confirmed that both American Airlines and its regional counterpart, American Eagle will continue flying its normal routes throughout the bankruptcy proceedings. AMR today appointed Thomas Horton as chairman and chief executive to replace Gerard Arpey who retired.

      The pilots union greeted the news about American Airline’s bankruptcy with solemnity, describing it as a “solemn occasion”. While the move did not take the pilots by surprise, the union expressed their disappointment in finding themselves working for “an airline that has lost its way,” according to a statement by David Bates, president of the Allied Pilots Association.

      AMR’s top two rival companies, Delta Airlines and Continental Airlines have used bankruptcy to restructure operations, cut costs and find new merger partners. Delta bought Northwest Airlines and Continental Airlines was bought over by UAL Corp and renamed United Continental Holdings. Delta and Northwest Airlines filed for bankruptcy in 2005. Another airline, United Airlines and US Airways filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier in 2002.

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        Former FBI Director Freeh Appointed MF Global Bankruptcy Trusee

        Former FBI Director Freeh Appointed MF Global Bankruptcy Trustee

        The Bankruptcy Court has appointed former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Louis J. Freeh as trustee in the much publicized MF Global Holdings Ltd. bankruptcy case. Both the company and its creditors agree that one sole person should be tasked with the responsibility of getting assets back. Among other things, Freeh is to liaise with all regulators for the prompt recovery of creditor funds. The appointment was filed today.

        On October 31 all customer accounts of MF Global Inc., the brokerage unit of MF Global Holdings, were frozen when the company could not account for a shortage of funds required to be segregated under US Commodity Futures Trading Commission rules. Subsequently, MF Global Holdings filed for bankruptcy protection to distribute returns to its bondholders and other creditors. MF Global was managed by Jon Corzine, who was formerly the governor of New Jersey and co-chairman of Goldman Sachs. Corzine has since resigned due to the debacle.

        Louis Freeh was an FBI agent who rose in the ranks to become the Bureau’s director when President Bill Clinton was in office from 1993 to 2001. Earlier, Freeh was a federal prosecutor and was appointed by President George W. Bush to the bench in 1991 to become a judge. His appointment as trustee must be approved by bankruptcy judge Martin Glenn who is presiding over the bankruptcy case.

        After stepping down as director of the FBI, Freeh ventured into risk management and formed his own company, Freeh Group International Solutions Inc. He also started his own legal firm. Some of his past and current work involvements include:

        • In 2008, heading a 2008 investigation of energy trading losses leading up to the bankruptcy of SemGroup LP
        • In 2010, conducting an independent monitoring a Justice Department probe of Daimler AG in 2010
        • Conducting an independent probe of the child sex-abuse scandal at Pennsylvania State University
        • Reviewing the security measures for SAT college-admissions test to be in accordance with the Educational Testing Service of Princeton, New Jersey and the New York-based College Board

        There appears to be nothing in Freeh’s current businesses that would pose a conflict of interest in his appointment as trustee for MF Global. Freeh said in court papers, “I do not personally have any connection with any interested party in these case.” Freeh did, however, mention some minor exceptions, for example the work his legal firm has done for Bank of America Corp., that make up less than 1% of its revenue to date.

        On Freeh’s part, his appointment necessitates him posting a bond of $26 million within the next 5 days, in accordance with regulations by the Justice Department in its handbook for trustees.

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          Latest in Harrisburg Bankruptcy Saga

          US Bankruptcy Judge Mary France has ruled that the bankruptcy petition filed by the majority of the city’s council members under Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code is null and void. At a hearing to decide on the petition, Judge France ruled that the council was not authorized to file the petition.

          In her judgment, France said, “For Chapter 9 bankruptcy to work, all of the branches of the municipality must be on the same page. Therefore I find that city council was not authorized to file the petition on Oct. 11.” Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson and Pennsylvania State Governor Tom Corbett had not supported the bankruptcy filing. Other parties that opposed the bankruptcy were Harrisburg’s Fraternal Order of Police and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees through their local affiliates.

          The council members who filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy are considering an appeal.

          Now things point to Harrisburg being placed under receivership. In October, governor Corbett appointed David Unkovic, lead attorney for the state economic development division, as receiver. Under Pennsylvania law, Unkovic’s appointment must be endorsed by a state court.

          The material part of the law is Pennsylvania Act 26. In the hearing, Judge France asked lawyers from both sides to present their arguments on whether Act 26 is unconstitutional. Basically, Act 26 states that cities of Harrisburg’s size (pop. 49,500) are disallowed from filing for bankruptcy before July 2012. Act 26 was specifically brought up by lawyers representing Mayor Thompson and Governor Corbett as prohibitive to the bankruptcy filing.

          Judge France found Act 26 to be constitutional and further added that the city council does not have the authority to unilaterally file for bankruptcy.

          Harrisburg’s debts stem from improvements made to the city incinerator that is unable to generate sufficient revenue to cover the debts. The state owes $242 million to bondholders, with $65 million already overdue.

          The bond market’s reaction to the judgment could not be immediately determined because of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But generally, market analysts believe that the judgment would augur well for the municipal bond market.

          Mayor Thompson recently revealed her $55.5 million budget for the year that begins in January that includes budgeted debt payments on the incinerator. The budget also includes the sale or lease of city assets aimed at raising $93.6 million to cover the payments.

          The city of Harrisburg, Jefferson County in Alabama and Central Falls in Rhode Island are 3 municipalities that have filed for bankruptcy this year. Now that Harrisburg’s filing has been thrown out (pending any appeal), it leaves Jefferson and Central Falls as the two municipality bankruptcies in the country. Since September 30, city and county debts have risen to more than $1.3 billion. This is more than two times the amount of debt from the previous three quarters combined, according to the Distressed Debt Securities Newsletter in Miami Lakes, Florida.

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            Harrisburg may get Receiver in Bankruptcy Saga

            The city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania may get a receiver even if the bankruptcy judge approves its bankruptcy filing. US Bankruptcy court Judge Mary France will decide if council members violated local and state laws when they voted to apply for bankruptcy. If Judge France rules the council members acted beyond their sphere of authority, she can set aside the bankruptcy application.

            Last month, most of the Harrisburg city council members voted to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy to remedy the city’s financial problems. But the Pennsylvania governor, Tom Corbett disagrees with the move, as does Harrisburg city mayor, Linda Thompson, preferring to place the city’s financial oversight under receivership instead. So the state is bent on continuing its move to appoint a receiver whether or not Judge France rules for bankruptcy.

            Last week (November 18), the state government appointed David Unkovic, Pennsylvania’s chief lawyer for economic development department, as the receiver for Harrisburg. Under Pennsylvania law, Unkovic’s appointment must be endorsed by a state court. Since then, Mayor Thompson, Governor Corbett and creditors have asked Judge Frances to dismiss the bankruptcy petition.

            Two main things will result from the dismissal of the bankruptcy petition. Firstly, the city will no longer be immune to legal action by creditors and will have to defend its position in court. And secondly, the council members and the receiver will have to work together with the mayor to solve the city’s financial woes. If the judge sets aside the bankruptcy application, the city council members have the right to appeal the ruling.

            There is no telling how the receiver would be affected if the judge allows the bankruptcy. Kelli Roberts, spokeswoman for governor Corbett, said, “We’ll cross that bridge when it comes, but we don’t think the bankruptcy will be upheld.”

            The other main player that opposes bankruptcy is Ambac Assurance Corp, the insurer for the city’s general obligation bonds, and city unions and Dauphin County, of which Harrisburg is the seat. Ambac itself is not without its own problems. Ambac Assurance’s parent company, Ambac Financial Group Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection in New York. Ambac Assurance itself is being overseen by Wisconsin regulators. The bond insurance company that underwrote Harrisburg’s incinerator bonds, Assured Guarantee Municipal Corp, also objected to the bankruptcy filing, along with the state and the mayor’s opposition.

            The city of Harrisburg’s financial problems stem mainly from renovation works done on the state incinerator that now cannot generate enough revenue to pay for the expenses. Harrisburg owes 5 times its general fund budget. The guaranteed repayment amount is $242 million, with $65 million overdue, according to bankruptcy papers.

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              Receiver Not Dismissed in Jefferson County Bankruptcy

              The judge in the bankruptcy case of Jefferson County has refused to dismiss the court-appointed receiver, saying he instead will consider if the law permits him to limit the powers of the receiver. The receiver has been appointed by the court to run the county’s sewerage system, the main course of Jefferson County’s financial problems. The receiver wants to raise sewerage rates by 25%, but the county opposes such a move. Instead, the county wants to resume control over the sewerage rates for its 126,000 residents.

              US Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Bennett said, “No matter what happens (in the hearing) today or tomorrow, I am not removing the receiver”. However, should the judge limit the powers of the receiver, who acts on behalf of the bondholders to whom the county owes $3 billion, the county would have more say in the running of the sewerage system.

              The bankruptcy law has a provision known as automatic stay. This is where the law prevents creditors from filing lawsuits against any property of the debtor. Thus, in the case of Jefferson County, the bondholders are prohibited from doing anything to the sewerage system. If the bankruptcy judge ousts the receiver, it would give the County more bargaining power.

              But according to the receiver John S. Young Jr., the bankruptcy law does not determine his ability to raise the sewerage rates or run the system. Calling the sewerage system the bondholders’ “biggest potential remedy, (their) biggest potential solution to the problem”, Young said relieving him of his position as receiver would cause the bondholders to forfeit their biggest ace in the pack.

              In contending to remain in his position as receiver, Young argued that the automatic stay provision is not applicable in this case. This is because municipal bankruptcies (like the one Jefferson County filed) are governed by Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code, not Chapter 11 as in the case of companies. And under Chapter 9 of the Code, there is no power vested in creditors to force the receiver to hand over any property of the debtor to them.

              In addition, Young also contended that his position is protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution that states that powers not held by the federal government is vested in the state government and since he is appointed by the state court, a federal court judge cannot dismiss him.

              The tussle over the control of sewerage rates is made acute by the fact that the bonds are non-recourse debts, in which bondholders can only be repaid out of revenue from the sewerage system and not through any other means.

              Jefferson County is the 12th county to file a Chapter 9 bankruptcy this year. Other municipal bankruptcy filings were by Boise County, Idaho; Central Falls, Rhode Island, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The rest were special purpose districts, or public- benefit corporations eligible to use Chapter 9. Jefferson County’s bankruptcy is the largest municipal bankruptcy, a record previously held by Orange County, California.

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                Gym Files for Bankruptcy, Kids Stranded

                One of the 300 outlets of the Little Gym International Inc. franchise that caters for children, the Little Gym of Rockland has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy this month. The gym provides gym, karate, and dance classes for children up to age 12 besides offering birthday party services. The sudden and unexpected action by the gym, announced to members via an email dated November 10, has left its 200 children members and their parents stranded.

                “It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that The Little Gym of Rockland County will be permanently closing its doors, effective immediately,” the email said. “It has truly been a pleasure teaching your children and being a part of your family’s lives.” According to the email, the gym is currently negotiating with other gyms to take in their children members. Records show that the gym has about 175 members. The email went on to ask its recipients to direct all enquiries on the gym’s status or finances to its lawyer.

                The Little Gym of Rockland county was opened in 2003 and subsequently taken over by its present owners, Melbran Gymnastics LLC in 2005. No individual names of owners were available.

                Rick Adams, Senior Vice President of Little Gym International, said the company would arrange for Rockland members who had already paid for gym classes and birthday parties to have them in 2 New Jersey gyms located at Englewood and Waldwick. But the arrangement is not well received by some parents, who say that it would be inconvenient to go to New Jersey for their children’s gym activities while there are more than a dozen Little Gyms in New York State including several in New York City and one in Scarsdale.

                Regarding the Rockland gym closure, Adams confirmed that the franchisee did not give any notice to Little Gym International about their bankruptcy. “We’re trying to force the refunds from that company although I don’t know if we’ll be successful in doing that, because it filed for bankruptcy,” Adams said.

                Parents of children members who had paid their gym fees in advance are left in a lurch. For the first time, the gym required parents to pay the entire school year’s gym fees in advance whereas in the past only half a year’s fees were required in advance. Parents paid up to $828 per child. Efforts by several of them to contact the owners for a refund have not been successful.

                At least one parent has lodged an official complaint with the relevant authorities. The Rockland County office for consumer protection has confirmed receiving one complaint about the Little Gym of Rockland. Its director, Terry Grosselfinger, said that his office would look into the matter. “Consumers in these situations have sort of a dual protection, under of county and state laws,” Grosselfinger said. He clarified that under Rockland County consumer law, gyms, health clubs, spas and similar businesses are required to give pro-rata refunds in the event the business closes down. Furthermore, under the New York Health Club Services Act, businesses must post a bond before opening to ensure sufficient funds to reimburse members if the businesses unexpectedly fold up.

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                  Number of Bankruptcies fall in Tampa Bay Area

                  The number of people and businesses filing for bankruptcy in the Tampa Bay area has fallen over the months. But this may not mean people have overcome their financial woes. The reduction in bankruptcy filings may indicate that banks are slowing down on foreclosures, resulting in less people filing for bankruptcy to bail themselves out.

                  In the year ended September 30, slightly less than 57,000 individuals and businesses filed for bankruptcy in the Middle District of Florida, a region that stretches from Fort Myers to Jacksonville and includes Tampa. This represents a drop of 14.8% over the year. Business bankruptcies fell by 16.7% in the district while personal bankruptcies saw a drop of 14.7%. If you consider only Tampa alone, the percentages are also about the same, but the numbers are understandably lower compared to the whole Middle District of Florida.

                  Although no one is able to precisely pinpoint the reason for the significant drop in bankruptcies, the fewer foreclosures by banks is one generally accepted reason. Many banks who faked foreclosure documents got into so much trouble that they ceased foreclosure actions until they could make sure their documents were legitimate. The number of foreclosures for October 2011 fell by a hefty 59% year on year according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure research firm.

                  In the meantime, other banks simply do not want to have the headache of foreclosing on too many houses. Some of the many problems that come with foreclosure include actions by delinquent homeowner associations, deliberate non-payment of dues by homeowners etc. Some homeowners are of the thinking that they can drag their feet in paying the banks because their neighbors have not paid for many months without any action taken against them.

                  Other possibility why bankruptcy filings have decreased is that there is less credit card debt these days as banks become more lenient with businesses. Generally of late, banks have been more willing to deal with delinquent businesses. People do not have as much access to credit as they did before the recession and many people are using their cards more sparingly. A recent report by the Federal Reserve shows that in the past three years, credit card use has fallen nearly 19%.

                  On the national level, last week, the Administrative Office of the US Courts reported that bankruptcy filings had fallen 8 percent nationwide in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

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                    No Bankruptcy Plan from Harrisburg

                    The city of Harrrisburg, Pennsylvania was given a deadline till last Monday by the bankruptcy court to submit a plan to resolve their $318 million debt. Unfortunately, the deadline came and went without any submission by the city. It will now be up to the State of Pennsylvania or the bankruptcy court to decide what to do.

                    Pennsylvania’s capital city, Harrisburg was given until 5 p.m. local time last Monday to come up with a deal with their creditors, largely from a renovation project done on the city incinerator. No deal was made so it appears the state will take over matters now. In explaining what transpired, Harrisburg Council President Gloria Martin Roberts said that there had been a deal formulated but most of the city council members backed out of the deal reached behind closed doors early on Friday.

                    Martin Roberts said, “After we met with (council members) Brad Koplinski and Susan Brown Wilson, we had a consent agreement. We agreed to come back at 7 p.m. on Friday evening so that we could all sign that agreement (but) when we got in that meeting… those two council members completely changed. We had no consent agreement”.

                    Just before the 5 p.m. deadline Monday, a final attempt was made at forging an agreement with creditors but the meeting had to be cancelled when four council members and representatives of Assured Guarantee Municipal (AGM) failed to turn up. Assured Guarantee is the insurer for the bond that was issued.

                    So now, bankruptcy judge Mary France will decide in a hearing November 23 if the bankruptcy case would continue. According to Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson, the city’s failure to find a solution means it has to accept a state-appointed receiver under the terms of a new law that just came into effect last month.

                    Some of the council members who voted for Chapter 9 bankruptcy are of the opinion that the Federal court could still step in to help the city overcome its growing financial burden. The seven-member city council voted 4 to 3 in favor of filing for bankruptcy in October. But both the Mayor (who did not agree to filing for bankruptcy) and representatives from the county agree that bankruptcy would cost the city millions of dollars.

                    Mayor Thompson and the remaining city council members had wanted AGM, Dauphin County, Covanta (the incinerator operator) and Ambac Financial Corporation to pay the leftover, or stranded, debt after Harrisburg sold its incinerator and leased its parking garages under the terms of a consent agreement. The amount of stranded debt stands at between $26 and $60 million.

                    But for the council members like Brad Koplinski, settling the stranded debt is not good enough. Koplinski wants AGM, Dauphin County and Covanta to pay $100 million each regardless of the money raised in selling the incinerator and leasing its parking.

                    “(The) Council believes there are a number of entities that helped make this deal happen and that each of them should be responsible for paying part of what’s due,” said Chuck Ardo, Mayor Thompson’s ex-press secretary who spoke on behalf of the council majority.

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