Financial Control Board

DIMES Y DIRETES EN PROMESA

El día 15 de junio de 2021 era el último día para objetar a la información que presentó la Junta en el Disclosure Statement que presentó. Este documento se rige bajo el 11 U.S.C. § 1125 y requiere que contnga “adequate information”, la cual se define así:

“adequate information” means information of a kind, and in sufficient detail, as far as is reasonably practicable in light of the nature and history of the debtor and the condition of the debtor’s books and records, including a discussion of the potential material Federal tax consequences of the plan to the debtor, any successor to the debtor, and a hypothetical investor typical of the holders of claims or interests in the case, that would enable such a hypothetical investor of the relevant class to make an informed judgment about the plan, but adequate information need not include such information about any other possible or proposed plan and in determining whether a disclosure statement provides adequate information, the court shall consider the complexity of the case, the benefit of additional information to creditors and other parties in interest, and the cost of providing additional information.

El disclosure statement y el plan constan de sobre 2,200 paginas, más un best interest analysis presentado a última hora. A pesar del corto tiempo disponible, varias entidades como mi cliente, Servicios Integrales en la Montaña, el Comité de Acreedores no Asegurados y la aseguradora Ambac, radicaron mociones cuestionando la falta de información del documento.

Sorpresivamente, AAFAF radicó una objeción al mismo argullendo que la Junta no había explicado adecuadamente como iba a aprobar el plan si la Legislatura no iba a favorecer legislación que el mismo requería. La Junta dijo en el Disclosure Statement que no era seguro que la Legislatura la aprobará y si era así acudiría al Tribunal bajo la sección 305 de PROMESA que prohíbe al mismo interferir con la propiedad y poderes del deudor sin la autorización de la Junta.

El miércoles 16 de julio se celebró la vista Omnibus de PROMESA y durante la misma se le pide a la Junta dar un informe, el cual ya se había radicado. Sorpresivamente, la Juez Swain, luego que la Junta dijo que no tenía nada que añadir nada al informe, dijo que iba a señalar algo. Dijo que ya que la Junta seguía que era obvio que este no era un plan consensual y no iba a permitir el enviar las papeletas para votar por el plan (si no se envían las papeletas, el plan no se puede aprobar) a menos que la Juez Houser, jefa del grupo de mediadores, certifique unos días antes de la vista del 13 de julio de 2021 que las partes han negociado de buena y de no ser así, quien no lo ha hecho. Esto podría interpretarse que la Juez Swain quiere que las diferencias entre la Junta y el Gobierno de PR se resuelvan, cosa poco probable ya que la Junta se ha mantenido firme en el recorte a las pensiones y el Gobierno en su oposición al más mínimo cambio a las mismas. Lo cual trae varias preguntas.

¿Está dispuesto el Gobierno de Puerto Rico a arriesgar la desestimación del Título III por defender a ultranza la pensiones? ¿Estará la Juez Swain dispuesta a ignorar o invalidar selectivamente la ley de Puerto Rio que requiere legislación  para la aprobación de nuevas emisiones de bonos? ¿Si la Juez Swain aprueba el plan de ajuste como esta, lo pondrá en vigor el Gobierno o nuevamente tomará la defensa a ultranza de las pensiones? ¿Si la Junta transa y elimina el recorte a las pensiones, lo aceptará la Juez Swain? ¿Si la Juez Swain aceptará este cambio, exigirá más cambios la Legislatura como la cancelación del contrato de LUMA?

Yo no tengo las respuestas pero entiendo que sus implicaciones tienen gran importancia, máxime que la prensa no ha reportado nada de esto.  

THE APPOINTMENT OF JUSTIN M. PETERSON TO THE BOARD

            Today, President Donald Trump appointed Justin M. Peterson to the Fiscal and Supervisory Board for Puerto Rico. I was alerted to the appointment by a source in DC and was told that he was appointed by the President to “bring transparency to the Board.” What does that mean?

            From day one of its operation, the Board’s workings have been shrouded in mystery. Every so often it has meetings open to the public, but it is clear that all decisions have been made beforehand and rehearsed for public consumption.  I have attended or watched all its meetings and only once has there been any public dissent. Ana Matosantos voted against one of the Board’s fiscal plans for the Commonwealth. We also know that the Board’s decision not to approve the PREPA RSA negotiated between the Government and bondholders was not unanimous but rather 4-3, but this was leaked weeks after the fact. Also, the Board has negotiated deals with creditors in secrecy, leaving the taxpayers who fund its operation in the dark. Many, including myself, have criticized this continued secrecy, even though PROMESA section 101(f)(4) makes executive sessions the exception rather than the rule.

Now the Board’s business will be more transparent. Although Mr. Peterson is only one member, nothing in PROMESA prohibits a member of the Board from speaking out about what he believes should be discussed. Other members have resorted to Twitter to espouse their ideas on what should be done in the Title III and their views on the Government’s actions. “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman” wrote Louis Brandeis in Other People’s Money And How the Bankers Use It (1914), a collection of his best essays. That is as true today as it was over 100 hundred years ago. Even if the Board was imposed on Puerto Rico, its inhabitants have a right to know how it conducts its business.

Also, this transparency will have to spill over into the Puerto Rico Government. Contrary to what the ample case law says, the island’s government is extremely opaque, something that the Board constantly criticizes. More transparency will help control corruption and waste, a major source of concern both for the President and for the island’s residents.

Finally, there are already voices criticizing Peterson for having advised GO bondholders. Need I remind them that many Puertorricans held and hold GO bonds? Need I remind them that GO bondholders settled their claims with the Board? Additionally, Andrew Scurria of the Wall Street Journal reported in his Twitter account that he spoke with Peterson and he said he did not work anymore for bondholders in the Puerto Rico case. If that is true, he would have no conflict of interest, especially since this is a known fact. Lest we forget, José Ramón González and Carlos García, both issued debt for Puerto Rico and were members of the Board. 

My only hope is that this appointment will help the Board become a better entity and finish Puerto Rico’s Title III cases in a satisfactory fashion.

LO QUE SABEMOS DEL CONTRATO DE LUMA

 

 

Esto es un brevísimo resumen de lo más sobresaliente del Contrato de LUMA. NO ES un análisis del mismo.

 

La AEE va a dejar de existir. Se van a crear GenCo, para se la dueña de los contratos de generación y las plantas y GridCo, que va a ser la dueña de la distribución y transmisión.

 

Los empleados de GridCo van a ser entrevistados y se contratarán algunos, pero no hay obligación de contratar ni la mayoría ni sustancialmente la mayoría de los empleados.

 

Aunque Luma Energy, LLC y Luma Energy Sevco, LLC estarán encargadas de la trasmisión y distribución, habrá un contrato con GenCo que puede incluir lo siguiente:

 

  1. Administrative
  2. Human Resources
  3. Recruiting
  4. Labor Relations

iii. Payroll and Benefits Administration

  1. Regulatory and Public Affairs
  2. File, execute and prosecute applications with Governmental

Authorities for the acquisition, construction, ownership and

operation of power generation facilities

  1. Provide or cause to be provided services for governmental and

public affairs, including, but not limited to press releases,

community events, contacts with county, state and federal

officials, and communications with landowners

  1. Finance and Accounting
  2. Internal Audit and Tax
  3. Risk Management (including financial risk management and

enterprise risk management)

  1. Treasury and Controller
  2. Insurance Renewals and Claims
  3. Loss Control Inspections
  4. Vendor payments and Contract Administration
  5. Insurance
  6. Information Technology
  7. Communications
  8. Hardware/Software/Licensing Support
  9. Cyber-Security
  10. Legal
  11. Bookkeeping
  12. Environmental
  13. Permitting and Reporting
  14. Mitigation
  15. Compliance
  16. Procurement and Supply Chain
  17. Outage Support
  18. Fleet Vehicle Services
  19. Capital Improvements Analysis and Determination
  20. Real Estate
  21. Bidding/ Selling Property
  22. Lease Management
  23. Portfolio Optimization
  24. Facilities
  25. Facilities and Property Administration/ Management/

Maintenance

  1. Food / Mail Services
  2. Physical Security

 

Todo eso lo paga GenCo a Luma Energy, LLC y Luma Energy Sevco, LLC y se determinará cuando se haga el contrato. Al estar probablemente envueltas en todo esto, Luma Energy, LLC y Luma Energy Sevco, LLC estarán a cargo no solamente de la transmisión y distribución, si no que tendrán mucha influencia en la generación. Este contrato será por tres años, que es el tiempo que se entiende tardará en vender la transmisión o retirar las plantas existentes o ambas. La pregunta inarticulada es si retiras plantas, quien va a construir las próximas y quien las va a pagar.

 

El contrato especifica que no se podrá cobrar como gasto lo siguiente:

 

  1. Wages, salaries, bonuses, employer contributions to pension and employee medical plans,

any mandatory employment related insurance and taxes, vacation, sick leaves and other mandatory leaves with pay, overtime compensation and associated benefits and other post-employment benefits incurred in connection with the following roles (or any substantially similar role or position): (i) Chief Executive Officer, (ii) Chief Financial Officer, (iii) Head of Human Resources, (iv) Head of Capital Programs, (v) Head of Information Technology and (vi) Head of Customer Service.

  1. Establishment and maintenance of a ManagementCo Board of Directors to provide strategy

and oversight.

  1. Costs incurred with any third party advisors hired by ManagementCo for the purposes of

fulfilling ManagementCo’s responsibilities set forth in this Agreement.

  1. Any costs relating to the Puerto Rico Lineworkers College.
  2. Administration of ManagementCo, including bookkeeping, contract administration,

filings, financial / operational audits, etc.

 

Se desprende que el resto de la empleomanía será un gasto pago por GridCo, la dueña de la transmisión y distribución y saldrá de la tarifa que pagamos.  De hecho, en el contrato, pág.. 198 y 211 del PDF, se ve PREB rate order filing y esto quiere decir que ya esta planeado el aumento de tarifa.