By Joseph Lichterman
DETROIT, Sept 19 Ron Bloom, one of the
architects of the Obama administration's restructuring of the
U.S. auto industry, is advising Detroit retirees facing cuts in
healthcare benefits and pensions in the city's Chapter 9
bankruptcy case, U.S. investment bank Lazard Inc said.
Lazard, where Bloom is now vice chairman, confirmed it was
selected as a financial advisor to a nine-member committee that
represents Detroit's 23,500 public sector retirees.
Benefits consulting firm The Segal Company was also hired,
two people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. They
declined to be named because the information is confidential.
Segal declined to comment, as did Bill Nowling, a spokesman
for the city of Detroit.
On July 18, Detroit became the largest city in U.S. history
to seek bankruptcy protection. Detroit emergency manager Kevyn
Orr has said retirement benefits could be cut as the city
struggles to pare down more than $18 billion in debt.
Roughly half of Detroit's liabilities stem from retirement
benefits, including $5.7 billion for healthcare and other
retiree benefits, and $3.5 billion involving pensions.
Orr also worked on the 2009 auto bailout as a lawyer for
Chrysler. At the time, Orr worked for law firm Jones Day. He was
named Detroit's emergency manager in March.
Bloom's hiring was first reported by Bloomberg News.