Puerto Rico bankruptcy fee examiner seeks $75 million
SAN JUAN – The U.S. District Court-appointed fee examiner is asking for the payment of $75 million in professional fees to help Puerto Rico restructure its debt.
Of the $75 million, $49 million are uncontested, according to Edge Legal Strategists.
U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain appointed Brady C. Williamson, of Godfrey Kahn SC, as the fee examiner in October to review expenses and fee requests submitted by attorneys working on Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy cases under the Promesa law.
In justifying the fees, the examiner said that to recover, the commonwealth needs expert assistance from engineers who restore power; contractors who restore homes, buildings and roads; medical personnel; and technicians who provide safe drinking water.
“In addition, it needs assistance from lawyers and financial advisors, whose expertise is no less critical to the Commonwealth’s recovery. The financial and legal infrastructures of the island require repair and restoration no less than the physical infrastructure. The required assistance is expensive, whether to rebuild the power grid or to define and adjust, fairly, the Commonwealth’s financial obligations. Congress recognized both needs—most recently when it appropriated more than $16 billion as part of the 2018 budget legislation,” the examiner said.
As of March 7, the court will have 403 applications for professional compensation from 30 different financial and law firms, including eight based in Puerto Rico. The fees requested for the “First Interim Fee Period,” from May 3 to Sept. 30, 2017, total $75 million.
Most of the applications were filed in mid-December, and no objections were filed within the timeframe.