JeffCo bankruptcy mediation delayed - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

JeffCo bankruptcy mediation delayed

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

Jefferson County has been in bankruptcy for 17 months and counting. County leaders are ready to end bankruptcy very soon.

The county wants to have an exit strategy before a judge by June first.

Mediations with creditors this week were pushed back a month. Usually delays mean bad news or some sort of setback but not in this case. Commissioners say progress continues to be made outside of a court setting.

"We're progressing. We surely have a skeletal framework, calling it that is misleading. We're past that, putting skin on the skeleton," said Commission President David Carrington.

The more than four billion dollar bankruptcy filing involves school warrant, general obligation and sewer creditors. The county needs a settlement or at least one of those groups to agree to its exit plan.

"We're making substantive progress in making multiple classes of creditors support the plan," said Carrington.

Carrington and Commissioner Jimmie Stephens met with some of the creditors' representatives last week. They say talks are going well enough to push back settlement negotiations involving a federal mediator. That's not to say there are not issues.

"We're not getting some information from creditors as timely as we'd hoped for," said Stephens.

But hope isn't lost. A consensual plan would just need the judges approval. Otherwise, it's more time in court.

"The citizens of Jefferson County deserve closure to this," said Stephens.

The mediation in Atlanta is now scheduled for the end of May.

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