(Reuters) – Alabama’s Jefferson County wants a federal judge to take a second look at a June 29 ruling favoring Wall Street creditors in order to clarify how the cash-strapped local government can pay $1 million a month in fees to its bankruptcy lawyers.
The county, which last November initiated the biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy, said Judge Thomas Bennett’s ruling clearly barred setting aside county revenues in reserve funds for estimated professional fees but did not forbid using the revenues for paying lawyers for completed work.
The county’s bankruptcy lawyers said in a written filing on Friday that they may eventually appeal the judge’s 43-page ruling and requested immediate guidance so accurate payments can be made to JPMorgan Chase and other creditors holding $3.2 billion of debt tied to Jefferson County’s sewer system.
“Absent guidance as to whether legal fees actually incurred (as opposed to ‘an estimate for professional fees and expenses’) are operating expenses that may be properly deducted, the county will not be able to make the required calculations,” the county’s bankruptcy lawyers said.
The judge set a July 25 hearing on the county’s request.