DETROIT Nov 7 The financial adviser for
Detroit's two pension funds testified in federal court on
Thursday that the city did not negotiate prior to filing the
largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history in July.
The adviser's testimony came on the eighth day of an
eligibility trial as Detroit tries to prove to U.S. Bankruptcy
Judge Steven Rhodes that it is insolvent and that it acted in
good faith when it deemed negotiations were just impractical.
"In your judgment, did any negotiations take place between
the city and the retirement systems prior to the Chapter 9
filing?" pension fund attorney Ron King asked Bradley Robins,
who is advising the funds.
"No," said Robins, who heads Greenhill & Co's financing
advisory & restructuring for North America.
Lawyers for the city, the unions, the retirees and the
pension funds opposed to the bankruptcy are set to begin their
closing arguments on Friday.
Rhodes' decision on whether the city, which has more than
$18 billion in debt and liabilities, is eligible for municipal
bankruptcy could come later this month.
Robins said he viewed a June 14 city report, which proposed
offering unsecured creditors, including the pension funds,
pennies on the dollar "as a shot across the bow."
"I took it as the city putting the creditors on notice that
it wanted to begin the process of wanting to have a discussion,"
But Robins said no negotiations transpired, despite a
handful of meetings between the creditors and the city before it
filed for bankruptcy on July 18.
He added that there was not enough time to fully evaluate
the city's financial data between the June 14 proposal and the
City attorneys countered that Robins never spoke up during
meetings leading up to the bankruptcy filing where the city's
plans to cut pension and retiree healthcare benefits were
Lawyer Thomas Cullen, who represents the city, pushed Robins
over whether he even had authority to negotiate on behalf of the
"So you never offered the city any finite negotiation path?"
"That is correct," Robins replied.