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April 2019: The Firm Pioneers a Path to Reorganization for Puerto Rico, and Attains Large Recoveries for Clients

April 2019

The firm represented an ad hoc coalition of holders of senior bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation (“COFINA”) in connection with the historic restructuring proceedings concerning the debts of Puerto Rico and its municipalities and instrumentalities. The coalition held over $5 billion in bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation (“COFINA”) and secured by a dedicated stream of Puerto Rico’s sales taxes. Beginning in 2015, when it became clear that Puerto Rico would not be able to pay its debts, the firm was hired to protect the interests of COFINA senior bondholders through negotiations and litigations against the Puerto Rico government and other holders of various municipal bonds. As the disputes heated up in 2016, the firm drafted and submitted to Congress what would become the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (“PROMESA”), a statute that would afford Puerto Rico and its instrumentalities the ability to initiate bankruptcy-like proceedings in District Court. The firm appeared before Congress and helped successfully push the legislation through to enactment in the summer of 2016. Then in 2017, Puerto Rico and COFINA filed for protection under PROMESA, and the firm’s representation shifted to litigating numerous disputes concerning the validity and constitutionality of the COFINA structure, the existence of defaults under the COFINA bond resolution, and respective rights of COFINA’s senior and subordinate bondholders. While the firm litigated these issues, we also engaged in protracted mediation over all of the COFINA-related issues. Ultimately, the firm engineered a court-approved settlement and plan of adjustment for COFINA that gave our clients over 93% recovery plus expenses while simultaneously shedding $6 billion in debt for the benefit of Puerto Rico’s future generations. The settlement and plan of adjustment went effective on February 12, 2019, marking the first successful plan of adjustment for a reorganized entity under PROMESA.