Swain’s World: Legal Workers Rolling in Bankruptcy Dough
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the July 26 – Aug. 1 print issue of Caribbean Business.
Judge Laura Taylor Swain last week allowed payment of a total of $19 million in legal fees and expenditures for different periods in 2017 and the early part of this year. The firms that had their compensation paid were Proskauer Rose, the law firm that represents the commonwealth, Sales Tax Financing Corp. (Cofina), the P.R. Electric Power Authority (Prepa), Highways & Transportation Authority as well as the Employees Retirement System; the O’Neill & Borges law firm that also represents the debtors; DLA Piper, which is bankruptcy counsel to the P.R. Fiscal Agency & Financial Advisory Authority (Fafaa) and the Treasury Department; Marchand ICS Group, an information agent to the Official Committee of Retired Employees and Segal Consulting, which are actuaries and consultants for the Official Committee of Retired Employees.
However, there are numerous other legal bills from more than 30 firms, with a total “in the millions,” for which Swain has yet to give the green light for payment. “At this juncture, there will be no money to pay lawyers or us,” a creditor told Caribbean Business.
The following bills were submitted this month:
- Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, attorneys for the Financial Oversight & Management Board for Puerto Rico, are seeking $787,714.54 and $3,397.75 for the period from February to May of this year.
- Andrew Wolfe, an adviser to the Oversight Board, is seeking payment of $100,000 and $13,157.16 in expenses for the period of February to May 2018.
- Pension Trustee Advisors Inc., which also provides services to the Oversight Board, is seeking $29,596 in expenses for work performed from February to May 2018.
- Phoenix Management Services LLC, which does work for the Mediation Team negotiating the debt and was hired in 2017, is seeking compensation of $411,000 from February 2018 to June 2018.
- Filsinger Energy Partners Inc., which advises Prepa, is seeking $5 million in expenses and $333,000 in fees for work performed between February 2018 and May 2018. Of this amount, $1,641,360.20 is for fees incurred for work performed by Filsinger Energy Partners professionals outside of Puerto Rico and $3,430,756.60 is for fees incurred for work performed by Filsinger Energy Partners professionals in Puerto Rico.
- Luskin, Stern & Eisler LLP billed $125,587.00 in expenses and compensation for work as counsel to the Oversight Board from February to May of this year.
- Ernst & Young LLP, which provides professional services to the Oversight Board, sought $1.1 million for work performed from February to April of this year.
- Jenner & Block LLP, which works for the Official Committee of Retired Employees, sought $1.9 million in compensation and $71,900 in expenses for work done between February and May of this year.
- Marchand ICS Group, which works for the Official Committee of Retired Employees, is seeking payment for the period between Feb. 1 through May 31, 2018 of about $82,519.00 in interim expense reimbursement and another $9,558.11 in fees.
- Segal Consulting, which also provides services to the Official Committee of Retired Employees, for the period of Feb. 1 through May 31, 2018, totaling $268,316.
- Bennazar, García & Milián CSP, which also helps out in the Title III case, is seeking $21,979.16 from February to May of this year.
- Bettina M. Whyte, in her capacity as the Cofina Agent in the Cofina-Commonwealth dispute, is seeking reimbursement for professional services rendered for $448,730.00 and expenses in connection with such services for $18,649.09, for the period of Feb. 1 through May 31, 2018.
- Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP, counsel to Bettina M. Whyte, the Cofina Agent, seeks interim compensation for professional services rendered in the amount of $4,634,348.09 and necessary expenses incurred in connection with such services for $957,142.80 for the period of Feb. 1 through May 31, 2018.
- Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLC, special municipal bankruptcy counsel to Bettina M. Whyte, the Cofina Agent, submitted a bill for $869,739.50 and reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses of $27,854.77, for the period Feb. 1 through May 31, 2018 (the Interim Period).
- FTI Consulting has requested payment for $1,877,000 in compensation and $18,368.45 in fees from February to May of this year. The firm says it is still owed $1,748,181.90 for professional fees and $12,710.42 for actual and necessary expenses, for a total of $1,796,892.32. The firm says the government erroneously applied a 29 percent withholding tax.
- Nilda M. Navarro Cabrer, a local counsel to Bettina M. Whyte, the Cofina Agent, is seeking $103,025.00 and reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses from February to May of this year.
- Greenberg Traurig LLP, counsel for Prepa and Fafaa billed $4,536,263.70 and reimbursement of actual and necessary expenses for $129,139.80 for the period of February to May 2018.
- O’Neill & Borges LLC, which provides services to the Oversight Board, is seeking a total of $511,739.32 and $16,759 in expenses for the period of Feb. 1 through May 31, 2018.
- Rothschild Inc., authorized to Provide Professional Services to Fafaa, billed for the period of April 1 through May 31, 2018 about $2,020,000.00.
- Ankura Consulting Group LLC sought $2 million from Feb. 1 through May 31, 2018 and $128,127 in expenses.
- Kroma Advertising sought $60,000 as communications adviser to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors from February to April of this year.
- Casillas, Santiago & Torres LLC, authorized to Provide Professional Services to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, billed $294,120.50 in compensation and $12,052.09 from February to May of this year.
- Zolfo Cooper LLC, which provided services to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors from Feb. 1 through May 31, 2018, is seeking $3.1 million and $19,000 in related expenses.
- Paul Hastings LLP, which provides services to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, is seeking $8,676,112.75 and $6,940,890.202 because it also does work as agent of the commonwealth in the Cofina-General Obligations (GO) bonds dispute.
- DLA Piper (Puerto Rico) LLC, which provides services to the Oversight Board and Fafaa, charged for worked done between February and May of this year for more than $900,000.
- Proskauer Rose LLP filed several bills for $98,765.94; $118,646 and $1,259,824.35 for the period between February and May 2018, for work done for several debtors. It also filed a bill for $3.2 million for work done for Prepa and a summary bill totaling $5 million for work done in the Title III case. A fee examiner’s report that analyzed bills from 2017 and from October 2017 to January of 2018 had concerns about the firm’s billing because it found potential overlap between the work of counsel for the board and counsel for Fafaa among other problems.
- O’Melveny & Myers, which provides services to Fafaa, sought $837,000 in compensation for work between February and May of this year. It also filed another bill for $194,579.33 and $155,651.42, and one for $6 million for work done for the Oversight Board.
- McKinsey & Co., which provided work to the Oversight Board, is seeking about $7,237,000.00 for the period of Feb. 1 through May 31, 2018.
- Marini, Pietrantoni, Muñiz LLC filed several bills for legal work done in the Title III case for the period between March and May for $3,286. The bills were for $10,631.70; $38,402.10; and $203,956.65.
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