The Monday Medley: A few new things about the city’s bankruptcy case

The Monday Medley: A few new things about the city’s bankruptcy case

Aggressive Opposition

Calling Syncora “an obscure but combative insurance company,” the Detroit Free Press today takes a look at one of the bankruptcy’s biggest opponents, the Bermuda-based firm that insures hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds. Syncora has issued sweeping subpoenas seeking seeking centuries of records from the Detroit Institute of Arts and has caused city attorneys to describe the company’s legal tactics as employing a “scorched earth strategy.” Nathan Bomey writes:

Syncora advisers say the company is being unfairly treated by Detroit and contends the city is moving hastily at the expense of creditors and residents. “What we’re doing is advocating for the highest and best reorganization and rehabilitation of the City of Detroit,” said Todd Snyder, a Rothschild financial adviser for Syncora, in an interview.

Payment Plans?

The city’s latest Disclosure Statement, filed Friday night, includes the $350 million Gov. Snyder proposed earlier this year to shore up pensions funds and protect Detroit Institute of Arts holdings from sale. The governor’s original proposal was for $17.5 million annual payments for 20 years, but that plan could be changing, The Detroit News reports today.

Detroit’s latest debt-cutting plan spells out for the first time a mathematical method for the state to make a lump sum discounted payment of the present value of $350 million over 20 years, which three sources tell The News would be about $190 million — a 45 percent savings. The sources spoke on condition anonymity because of ongoing confidential negotiations.

With tentative deals reached on pension payments, some pension fund financing debt and other creditor obligations in the city’s case, when will we see some official action in Lansing? After all, the pension deals require the $350 million from the state or bigger cuts befall the retirees, according to the city’s filings.

Setting the (Handle)Bar High

“With ever-increasing width and whimsy,” writes Neil Rubin in The Detroit News, Bill Nowling’s handlebar mustache is growing, both in appearance and reputation. Nowling, of course, is the spokesman for  Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. By email, text or actual conversation, Nowling is the  answer guy for media with questions about what’s happening in the EM’s office.

His mustache has been in development since late last year, and now it’s achieved its own 21st century-style fame: two Twitter accounts.

Orr likes it, Nowling says, while Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has stayed largely neutral. Others ask if he’s a Civil War re-enactor, and someone called him “Rollie Fingers.” He’d rather be known as the first than the last. Fingers was a Hall of Fame pitcher a generation ago who was best known for his spectacular handlebar mustache. Beyond that, he’s best known for going bankrupt.