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"...a tragic and extreme version of a familiar pattern"

One-Fifth of Detroit's Population Could Lose Their Homes Many families could stay put for just a few hundred dollars, if only they knew how to work the system. (SLAtlantic)
posted by tonycpsu on Oct 24, 2014 - 30 comments

Detroit with a Boardwalk

"Wonder why Atlantic City is failing? The better question, the one asked by people who know the town: Why did anyone think it would ever succeed?"
posted by ActionPopulated on Oct 22, 2014 - 30 comments

"How important is eating?"

Detroit ruling on bankruptcy lifts pension protection. (NYT) U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled Tuesday morning that yes, Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9. The shocker for retirees — Rhodes also ruled that city pension benefits won’t receive heightened protection in bankruptcy and may be cut. (Detroit Free Press) Firefighters, along with police officers, don't qualify for Social Security, while other city workers do. (Detroit News) Previously. Previouslier. [more inside]
posted by sio42 on Dec 4, 2013 - 286 comments

How Detroit Went Broke

The Free Press investigates the causes of the Detroit bankruptcy. From 13th checks to Kwame's gamble, the story of Detroit's bankruptcy is surprising and often counter-intuitive.
posted by klangklangston on Sep 15, 2013 - 61 comments

“This is like the weighing of souls.”

Christie's Auction House is set to appraise The Detroit Institute of Art's holdings as part an accounting of Detroit's assets. According to Art Market Monitor, the danger of the appraisal now taking place ... is that it will reveal a much greater value than the $2.5bn bandied about recently. Todd Levin, a Detroit-born art adviser and director of the Levin Art Group in New York, said the value of the museum’s entire 60,000-piece collection would have to be significantly higher — “at least in the low to mid-11 figures, In other words, at least $10 billion to $20 billion. (Previously)
posted by R. Mutt on Aug 20, 2013 - 61 comments

Detroit Files for Bankruptcy

Detroit, the cradle of America’s automobile industry and once the nation’s fourth-most-populous city, has filed for bankruptcy. (NYT) The decision to file for bankruptcy makes this "the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in American history in terms of debt." (Previously) [more inside]
posted by Roger_Mexico on Jul 18, 2013 - 143 comments

How do Lego Lawyers take notes without thumbs?

New Case Law in Sovereign Debt Restructuring...in Lego Form [more inside]
posted by JPD on Dec 2, 2012 - 22 comments

American Airlines Pilots Stage Alleged "Sickout"

American Airlines has been forced to cancel 300 flights this week as pilots, upset over a discouraging deal with their union (including pay and benefits cuts), have begun calling in sick in high numbers.
posted by Tenacious.Me.Tokyo on Sep 20, 2012 - 105 comments

Municipal Bankruptcy in the United States

Over the last few months, a few cities around the United States have experienced their own, unique, fiscal crisis: bankruptcy. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 5, 2012 - 74 comments

"Why the f--- did I even buy this?"

In 2009, Sports Illustrated investigated the strange and perilous financial lives of professional athletes. [more inside]
posted by Snarl Furillo on Jul 26, 2012 - 38 comments

They would say, 'We don't care what happened with your son, you have to pay us'.

A few months after he buried his son, Francisco Reynoso began getting notices in the mail. Then the debt collectors came calling. Now, he's suffering a Kafkaesque ordeal in which he's hounded to repay loans that funded an education his son will never get to use — loans that he has little hope of ever paying off. Despite the help of a lawyer, Reynoso has not been able to determine exactly how much he owes, or even what company holds his loans.
posted by unSane on Jun 19, 2012 - 59 comments

Dewey & LeBoeuf R.I.P.

On Monday, the U.S.-based law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP filed for dissolution. While Dewey is not the first law firm to declare bankruptcy, it is the largest and is likely to be the most contentious. [more inside]
posted by hawkeye on May 29, 2012 - 49 comments

hey, that's a funny coincidence

Mary Brown, a 56-year-old Florida woman who owned a small auto repair shop but had no health insurance, became the lead plaintiff challenging President Obama's healthcare law because she was passionate about the issue. Brown "doesn't have insurance. She doesn't want to pay for it. And she doesn't want the government to tell her she has to have it," said Karen Harned, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business. Brown is a plaintiff in the federation's case, which the Supreme Court plans to hear later this month. But court records reveal that Brown and her husband filed for bankruptcy last fall with $4,500 in unpaid medical bills. Those bills could change Brown from a symbol of proud independence into an example of exactly the problem the healthcare law was intended to address. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Mar 10, 2012 - 189 comments

"Where are ya, ya spongy yellow delicious bastards?!"

Twilight of the Twinkie?: [infographic] Twinkies Maker Hostess Files for Chapter 11 Protection. [Wall Street Journal] [Previously]
posted by Fizz on Jan 17, 2012 - 59 comments

There's got to be a better pun than "Class War," right?

The Face of Student Debt: Natalia Antonova stopped paying when she realized that it was the loans or her child. (The response has been telling.) Kristin Rawls demands solidarity. Glenn Reynolds says colleges should pay for defaulters.
"The proportion of freshmen and sophomores at four-year colleges who will default on federal loans over their lifetime is estimated at between 19 and 31 percent, depending on the type of loan and when it was written, the [DOE's] Office of Inspector General wrote in a 2003 audit."(doc)

posted by anotherpanacea on Dec 16, 2011 - 221 comments

Jefferson County goes to war

Larry Langford was sentenced to 15 years in a federal prison in 2010 for his role in it. "It’s unclear how much Langford actually understood. Later he told the Securities and Exchange Commission that he wouldn’t know a swap advisor from a rubber band."

Yesterday, Jefferson County in Alabama declared bankruptcy, the largest municipality to do so. "The filing means the county has declared war on its creditors. " [more inside]
posted by dig_duggler on Nov 10, 2011 - 48 comments

Too late to fix it in post

From the bankruptcy beat: Kerner Optical shut down. The original Industrial Light and Magic (in a building labeled "Kerner Optical" to hide from industry snoops and avid fans), the practical effects (in contrast to computer effects) shop became a department of a diversifying ILM, which sold it off in 2006. It struggled along on the margins of bankruptcy before filing for Chapter 11 early this year and closing for good in August, its final words a bitter letter about an uncooperative creditor. The Kerner Optical site (entirely in Flash) is still up, where you can see its credits (up through 2008) and view its demo reel.

Souvenir hounds and budding SFX shop owners can have a blast at the liquidation auction, and bid on a box of skulls, a pizza oven, studio props, stage props, leftover models, and tons of shop tools.
posted by ardgedee on Oct 14, 2011 - 19 comments

This really is our only option out there.

Harrisburg City Council votes 4-3 in favor of Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy protection. Pennsylvania's capital city filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors Wednesday, becoming the third city to file this year. In August, Central Falls, R.I. filed for bankruptcy protection after retired city workers refused to accept an offer to cut their pensions. In March Boise County Idaho became the first municipality for seek Chapter 9 protection. [more inside]
posted by three blind mice on Oct 13, 2011 - 38 comments

California Busted?

Michael Lewis' newest piece of financial disaster tourism came out a few days ago, relating his take on California's Bond problems. Some think that he didn't interview the right experts in the field and that the lesson of the city of Vallejo have already been internalized by city managers. Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy code, governing municipal bankruptcies has been used less than 600 times since 1937. This means that the case law is still relatively undeveloped. Only in 2009 did it become clear that municipalities could void union contracts for public workers. [more inside]
posted by bswinburn on Oct 3, 2011 - 17 comments

There's no Cure for Student Loans

Since 2005, it has been nearly impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. HR 2028 and S.1102 aim to make private student loans again dischargeable in bankruptcy. [more inside]
posted by gauche on Aug 3, 2011 - 64 comments

Borders liquidating remaning stores

Borders is liquidating as soon as this Friday, closing all 399 stores, ending 40 years of business, and 11,000 jobs. Brought down by e-books and Amazon. Scenes From A Borders Liquidation Sale. Map of (soon to be vacant) Borders stores.
posted by stbalbach on Jul 18, 2011 - 311 comments

Patricia Kluge files for Bankruptcy

In 1976, at the age of 27, Patricia Rose began a relationship with the married, 62-year-old billionaire John Kluge. At the time, Kluge owned MetroMedia, a company that started life as the Dumont TV network and would go on to become Fox television. Previously, Patricia had been married to British pornographer Russell Gay. She had posed nude in Knave Magazine and had a bit part as a belly dancer in The Nine Ages of Nakedness. In 1981, Patricia Rose and John Kluge married. Soon after, construction began on the Albemarle Estate, a 29,000 sq ft., 45 room home in Virginia. Patricia and John were the 1980s power couple. In 1990, they divorced, and Patricia kept the house and went on to found the Kluge Estate Winery. Now, everything has come crashing down.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Jun 25, 2011 - 35 comments

More Judges Say DOMA Unconstitutional

Today, Judge Donovan of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles ruled [link is to pdf of decision] that DOMA is unconstitutional. 19 judges join his opinion. [more inside]
posted by insectosaurus on Jun 13, 2011 - 35 comments

Bad Education

The Higher Education (Debt) Bubble - "[H]igh and increasing college costs mean students need to take out more loans, more loans mean more securities lenders can package and sell, more selling means lenders can offer more loans with the capital they raise, which means colleges can continue to raise costs. The result is over $800 billion in outstanding student debt, over 30 percent of it securitized, and the federal government directly or indirectly on the hook for almost all of it. If this sounds familiar, it probably should... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 17, 2011 - 185 comments

Now You See It, Now You Don't

Homeowners are using a little known loophole in the bankruptcy laws to shed their second mortgages.
posted by reenum on May 9, 2011 - 42 comments

Blockbusted

The Rise and Fall of Blockbuster. After filing for bankruptcy yesterday, many wonder what the future holds for the fallen video rental chain.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis on Sep 24, 2010 - 109 comments

The other exit strategy

With quantitative easing on everyone's minds, pundits of all sorts talk about Central Bank exit strategies. But in The Treaty of Lisbon, which came into force across the EU on December 1st, 2009, it turns out European member states have put forward an exit strategy of a completely different kind [.pdf] . [more inside]
posted by Mutant on Jan 20, 2010 - 31 comments

Nails Goes to Wall Street

Lenny Dykstra was lauded for his heroics with the Mets and Philles. After his career, Dykstra became well-known as a post-career athlete success story. Then the truth started coming out... [more inside]
posted by reenum on Oct 27, 2009 - 22 comments

A Banking System We Can Trust

Limited Purpose Banking -- for lending, investing, etc. -- Turn all financial firms into mutual funds: "All mutual funds would break the buck with one exception: cash mutual funds. These funds would strictly hold cash and be valued at $1 per share. Owners of these funds would write checks against their balances and never have to worry about a bank run. Fractional reserve banking and the FDIC would be history." [previously] [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 3, 2009 - 15 comments

The final hours of Circuit City

The final hours of Circuit City. (via)
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 9, 2009 - 135 comments

FATALITY!

Chicago-based video game developer Midway Games has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. [more inside]
posted by 40 Watt on Feb 14, 2009 - 43 comments

15 Companies That Might Not Survive 2009

Say goodbye to Blockbuster, Sbarro's, Rite Aid, Krispy Kreme and Chrysler. 15 US companies that probably won't make it through 2009.
posted by CunningLinguist on Feb 11, 2009 - 228 comments

Crapping out

Trump Entertainment is about to run out of the third extension of its debt payments. Station Casinos is offering its investors as little as 10 cents on the dollar in a pre-packaged bankruptcy. Wynn Resorts is cutting staff hours and bonuses to avoid layoffs. MGM Mirage may see a default rate of 30% on its City Center condominiums. Harrah's long-term debt has doubled. There are no more traffic jams on the Strip. Oh... and the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City had to settle a $70 million sexual harassment lawsuit brought by its beverage servers. In short: times are tough.
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 9, 2009 - 61 comments

Bridge Loaner? But I hardly know her...

Andrew Ross Sorkin takes apart GM piece by piece. [more inside]
posted by jourman2 on Nov 18, 2008 - 134 comments

The biggest employer of foreign nationals in Japan BUSTO?

Nova eikaiwa is the biggest foreign language school in Japan, teaching predominantly English through a network of over 600 branches across the county and employing over 7,000 foreign nationals. After adverse rulings to a number of complaints regarding Nova's refund policy, the Japanese Government imposed a 6 month ban from July to prevent the company from selling large lesson packages to students. The company has experienced a severe downturn in cashflow as a result and there are reports of late payment to Japanese staff and suppliers in the last two months. Foreign teachers were unaffected until salary payments for the 15th September were paid late, and more senior teachers have not yet been paid. Despite not being paid, many staff face a tough decision: quit, or continue to show up to work in the knowledge that if the company goes bankrupt they are eligible for unemployment benefits. Despite this, CEO Nozomu Sahashi declared last Friday "The dark clouds that have been hanging heavily over us will be cast aside... I said previously 'the darkest time is before the dawn,' and finally the first light of dawn can be seen". Five days later and some teachers are still waiting to be paid.
posted by cwhitfcd on Sep 25, 2007 - 20 comments

Mmmmm, toasty!

Ever considered buying or starting a franchised restaurant? Right now, Quiznos might be best avoided...... (You might also avoid the franchises sold by a company called Raving Brands.)
posted by metasonix on Mar 14, 2007 - 80 comments

But there are such sweet ass cars out there!

Audi released its new super-sportscar, the R8, at the Paris Autoshow today. With cars like the R8 and the Bugatti Veyron at the top end and the Toyota, Volkswagen or Lexus, there's lots of neat stuff going on in the automotive world...just not from GM, Ford or Chrysler. Maybe it's just me, but pumping out crap like this may be part of the reason. Just guessing.
posted by tgrundke on Sep 27, 2006 - 63 comments

Sallie Mae is the Devil.

Student Loan Justice. c/o Village Voice. (cf.)
posted by xowie on Jan 27, 2006 - 72 comments

Well Oiled Strippers vs Rick Texas Cowboys

When can federal bankruptcy judges rule on state probate matters? In Marshall vs Marshall, the Supreme Court will consider this rather unsexy, technical issue during its next session.
posted by mischief on Sep 27, 2005 - 14 comments

Credit card minimums to double

A double whammy for the U.S. economy this winter: Bankers have announced credit card minimum payments will double starting in early 2006 as a 10-year payback system is adopted. Meanwhile in October comes the controversial bankruptcy reform. All this on a blanket of spiralling gas prices. That Unahome may be the wave of the future for a lot of Americans.
posted by rolypolyman on Aug 21, 2005 - 37 comments

Where's my pension ?

UAL (United Airlines) dumps four pension plans[optional audio interview with Businessweek expert] ; bankruptcy court authorizes shifting of USD 5 billions (allegedly largest pension default in U.S. history) in pension obligations to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. As a result the burden of private failure and incompetency will be shared by all taxpayers (whose taxes finance PBGC which is already operating on a 23 Billion deficit) and by beneficiaries of the pension plans who will see their pension severely cut : pilots from 100K to 30K pensions but also less privileged workers will be hit. For instance Mrs Tamuk, spokeswoman from Association of Flight Attendants said her pension will be reduced from $1,700 a month to $800 a month.
posted by elpapacito on May 11, 2005 - 94 comments

They'd love to fly...

Like misbehaving teenagers, Jetsgo passengers find themselves grounded indefinitely. As it turns out you can't both operate on razor-thin margins AND spend millions upon millions in expensive marketing campaigns. Who'd have thunk it?
posted by clevershark on Mar 11, 2005 - 23 comments

Cloture for Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005

A Senate bill to overhaul federal bankruptcy laws, a top priority of retailers, auto lenders and banks, cleared a key hurdle Tuesday afternoon. Sixty-nine senators -- nine more than needed -- voted for "cloture," a procedural move that limits debate. Republican leaders hope to push the bill to a final vote by the end of the week. Earlier, the Senate turned back a controversial, abortion-related amendment that has scuttled previous efforts to pass bankruptcy legislation. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 was first introduced in 1998 as The Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Act.
posted by airguitar on Mar 8, 2005 - 63 comments

Medical Bankruptcy

An umbrella that melts in the rain WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Half of all U.S. bankruptcies are caused by soaring medical bills and most people sent into debt by illness are middle-class workers with health insurance, researchers said on Wednesday. "Our study is frightening. Unless you're Bill Gates you're just one serious illness away from bankruptcy."
posted by Shanachie on Feb 2, 2005 - 69 comments

Big Al

He spent a lifetime peddling smut and once had an $11 million fortune, but after losing everything and becoming just another homeless New Yorker, Al Goldstein is now happy pushing bagels instead of porn.
posted by terrier319 on Jan 24, 2005 - 16 comments

Mark my words

Delta Airlines to announce chapter 11 tomorrow around noon.
posted by Keyser Soze on Oct 26, 2004 - 58 comments

Life and Debt

An interesting study by The Century Foundation. I found it while perusing the NY Times op-eds...specifically, Bob Herbert. It seems that "Household debt and personal bankruptcies are reaching record highs despite low interest rates and rising real estate values."
posted by BlueTrain on Aug 9, 2004 - 59 comments

Miss a Payment, Triple Your Interest Rate

Americans are not going broke over lattes! Salon (warning: ad click-through required) interviews the author of a book who contends that American middle class overconsumption is a myth. This made me really think about how I relate to my $$$, and what I think is pushing me deeper into a hole. According to this author, kids are forcing people into bankruptcy, and it's not because we buy them gameboys and expensive clothes. The author also claims that credit card companies and mortgage lenders need to be regulated by the govt., as they are feeding off of middle class hardships. It's also making me wonder why real estate developers aren't building small homes anymore, at least in my state of the union.
posted by archimago on Oct 14, 2003 - 91 comments

Bankruptcy

The Seven Year Itch (Not To Mention The Solution To All Your Financial Problems): Bankruptcy! Clarissa Dickson-Wright, the surviving (blonder; more corpulent; less Mediterranean; less adept at actually cooking) half of the wonderful BBC cooking show Two Fat Ladies, serves a salty and amusing column on bankruptcy. For those deep in debt - never mind how paltry the sums involved - it offers a legal, no-more-stiff-letters-and-phonecalls solution. And the consequences, credit-wise, seem only to last 7 years. As someone who's lunatically overspent ever since I was born, growing worse and more debt-ridden ever since, I'm sorely tempted. But the apparent immorality of it keeps holding me back. To what extent is it a viable alternative? Are we hoi polloi suckers for not using it more? I mean, rich people use it mercilessly all the time!
posted by MiguelCardoso on Oct 9, 2003 - 51 comments

Do I hear $2 for all of Napster's assets?

We all knew the day would come, the time to put the "you" in P2P: Buy your own piece of Napster at their bankruptcy auction. December 11th, live and webcast, their impressive set of top o' the line (for 2001) equipment is up for grabs.
posted by mathowie on Nov 19, 2002 - 9 comments

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