Public Sector Restructuring Engagements
- Commonwealth of Puerto Rico: In the largest in-court public sector restructuring in U.S. history, involving approximately $125 billion of debt, and the first case under Title III of the PROMESA statute, Robert represented the Official Retiree Committee, with responsibility for the interests of approximately 167,000 retirees and approximately $58 billion in claims for unfunded pension benefits. Robert oversaw the litigation strategy vis-à-vis other creditor groups, and he spearheaded negotiations with the Financial Oversight and Management Board, leading to one of the first and most critical plan support agreements in the case. Ultimately, Robert and his team achieved an astounding result—full payment of accrued pension benefits (i.e., no reductions or deferrals), while bondholders received a blended recovery of less than 50%. As part of the settlement, Robert led the negotiation, drafting, and creation of a novel structure – a non-governmental independent pension reserve trust to be funded by the Commonwealth over the next 10 years out of projected cash surpluses, with governance split between a professionally-managed pension investment board and a retiree-populated pension committee. Last fall, the first deposit into the trust in the amount of $1.4 billion was made by the Commonwealth.
- City of Detroit: In the largest chapter 9 bankruptcy case in U.S. history, involving approximately $18 billion of debt, Robert represented the two Detroit retirement systems (Police & Fire Retirement System and General Retirement System) as the single largest creditor group, owed approximately $6 billion. Robert played a central role in negotiating the treatment of the pension claims, which became the cornerstone of the plan of adjustment. Robert and his team obtained outstanding results for the pension systems, preserving in full the accrued base pension benefits of the police and fire retirees and securing a limited reduction of 4.5% of base pension benefits of the non-uniform retirees.
- Chester, PA: Representing the Official Retiree Committee in the chapter 9 bankruptcy of Chester, PA, furthering his unique work in this area. Retiree claims are approximately $360 million.