On June 15, 2017, the United States Trustee filed a notice appointing an official committee of unsecured creditors for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (the “Creditors’ Committee”), and on August 25, 2017, the United States Trustee filed an amended notice appointing the Creditors’ Committee as official committee of unsecured creditors for ERS, HTA, and PREPA (together with the Commonwealth, the “Debtors”). There are seven (7) members of the Creditors’ Committee – (1) American Federation of Teachers, (2) Baxter Sales and Distribution Puerto Rico Corp., (3) Drivetrain, LLC as the Creditors’ Trustee for Doral Financial Corporation, (4) Genesis Security Services, Inc., (5) Service Employees International Union, (6) Tradewinds Energy Barcelona, LLC, and (7) The Unitech Engineering Group, S.E.

The Creditors’ Committee is a committee of general unsecured creditors appointed to represent, in a fiduciary capacity, the interests of all general unsecured creditors of the Debtors. In such role, the Creditors’ Committee will act to protect and promote the interests of general unsecured creditors of the Debtors. The overarching goal of the Creditors’ Committee is to maximize value for general unsecured creditors of the Commonwealth, ERS, HTA, and PREPA.

The Creditors’ Committee is not the official committee of unsecured creditors for COFINA, but is the Commonwealth Agent in connection with the Commonwealth‐

The Creditors’ Committee retained (i) Paul Hastings LLP to act as its counsel, (ii) Casillás, Santiago & Torres LLC to act as its Puerto Rico counsel and (iii) Zolfo Cooper, LLC to act as its financial advisor.

No. The Creditors’ Committee represents the interests of all unsecured creditors through oversight of and negotiations with the Debtors. Although the members of the Creditors’ Committee are individual creditors, neither the Creditors’ Committee nor its advisors represent individual creditors that may have claims in the title III cases.

Commencing on May 3, 2017 and on certain subsequent dates, the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico (the “Oversight Board”) filed petitions for relief under title III of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (“PROMESA”) in the District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, (the“Court”) for the following entities:

  1. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (the “Commonwealth”)
  2. The Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation (“COFINA”)
  3. The Employees Retirement System of the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (“ERS”), and
  4. The Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (“HTA”)\
  5. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (“PREPA”)

 

These five cases are being jointly administered under the lead Case No. 17 BK 3283‐ All court pleadings relating to the jointly administered debtors are to be filed on the docket of the Commonwealth case. Each of the above entities is referred to as a “debtor” or collectively as the “debtors.”

Title III refers to the section of PROMESA that covers court-supervised restructurings of United States territories and their covered instrumentalities. A territory that files for protection under title III is allowed to continue to operate and provide services uninterrupted “in the ordinary course.”

Upon the filing of a title III case an “automatic stay” is imposed that prevents creditors from taking actions to collect money and debts owed by the Debtors. The automatic stay provides the Debtors with a breathing spell to allow them to negotiate with creditors.

A major benefit of title III is that it permits daily operations to continue:

  1. Government facilities can stay open
  2. Employees can continue to receive their regular wages and benefit
  3. Government services are to be provided uninterrupted

To emerge from title III, each of the Debtors must file a plan of adjustment that will provide for the classification and adjustment of the Debtor’s debts. To the extent there is a plan of adjustment filed in the Commonwealth’s title III Case, such document will be available on this website. Subject to applicable provisions of PROMESA, the Bankruptcy Code and any other applicable law, the plan of adjustment, among other things: (i) would be available to creditors of the Commonwealth for review and the ability to object, (ii) have to comply with the provisions of title 11 of the United States Code (the Bankruptcy Code) made applicable to a title III Case under section 301 of PROMESA in order to be approved by the court, (iii) would be subject to voting to accept or reject by impaired classes of creditors, and (iv) would not be binding on creditors until entry of an order by the District Court of Puerto Rico confirming such plan and relatedly the plan going effective.

Pursuant to PROMESA section 312, only the Oversight Board may file a plan of adjustment of the debts of the debtor.

It is difficult to predict how long the Debtors will be under title III as it depends upon many factors. This is an unprecedented restructuring and other large restructurings have taken many months or longer to complete, which could be the case here.

The District Court has extended the general deadline for filing proofs of claim against the Debtors, pursuant to the Bar Date Extension Order:

  • Friday, June 29, 2018 at 4:00 PM (AST)

FAILURE TO FILE A TIMELY PROOF OF CLAIM MAY RESULT IN THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM, UNLESS YOU ARE EXCEPTED FROM THE PROOF OF CLAIM FILING REQUIREMENT UNDER THE BAR DATE ORDER. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE SEE THE BAR DATE ORDER, NOTICE, AND RELATED DOCUMENTS POSTED ON THE DEBTORS’ WEBSITE

The Honorable Laura Taylor Swain, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, was designated as the presiding judge for the title III cases pending in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. Court hearings in the title III cases are held in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the below address.

United States District Court District of Puerto Rico
150 Carlos Chardon Street
San Juan, PR 00918‐1767
https://www.prd.uscourts.gov

On June 23, 2017, an order was entered by Judge Laura Taylor Swain appointing a 5 person mediation team, whose purpose per the order is to facilitate confidential settlement negotiations of any and all issues and proceedings arising in the title III cases and proceedings. The head of the mediation team is the Honorable Barbara Houser of the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.

If the Creditors’ Committee website itself does not address your question, you may send questions to the Creditors’ Committee by filling out an inquiry form, which is on the website. Alternatively, you can contact the Creditors’ Committee at 1-212-318-6391 and someone will return your call as soon as reasonably possible.