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    Friday, November 22, 2019-2:32:41P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Bankruptcy expert: Payments will continue

A HAWAII-BASED bankruptcy expert is optimistic that the retirees will continue receiving pension payments.

Current members of the Retirement Fund sign a petition addressed to the governor and to the local court after a meeting on Tuesday night at the American Memorial Park Visitor Center. Photo by Andrew O. De GuzmanCurrent members of the Retirement Fund sign a petition addressed to the governor and to the local court after a meeting on Tuesday night at the American Memorial Park Visitor Center. Photo by Andrew O. De GuzmanChuck C. Choi, of Wagner Choi & Verbrugge, told Variety, “Assuming the case is not dismissed, the Fund should negotiate with the committee over consensual reductions as well as ways of collecting on the Fund. I don’t believe that the judge would permit the Fund to unilaterally cut benefits significantly in the short term until these discussions are held.”

He also expressed confidence in the Fund continuing to make payments. “I am confident that in the short term the Fund will seek to continue to make substantial benefit payments to retirees and others (even if at a reduced level) past June, 2012.”

A cum laude graduate of Southwestern University School of Law and an alumnus of the Univ. of Hawaii, Choi is a recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award in Contracts, Constitutional Law I, Constitutional Law II, Wills & Trusts, Land Use Planning and Control.

Along with partner James A. Wagner, Choi is recognized as one of the best bankruptcy lawyers in Hawaii and the U.S. having made the list of “The Best Lawyers in America® 2011.”

He is a member of the Hawaii State Bar Association, Hawaii Bankruptcy Bar Association, American Bar Association, and American Bankruptcy Institute.

In his practice, Choi has represented debtors in chapter 11, 13 and 7 cases representing businesses and individuals in creditor workouts, bankruptcy, and commercial disputes.

He took part in the successful confirmation of debtor’s plan of reorganization in the cases of Pomare, Ltd. (dba Hilo Hattie) and Azabu, Inc.

Cho also served as creditor committee counsel in chapter 11 reorganizations of Liberty House, Inc., Crazy Shirts, Inc., Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. II, CHA Hawaii LLC, et al. (Hawaii Medical Center), E.R.T. Sales of Hawaii dba Price Busters, Hawaii Medical Center (II), and M Waikiki LLC.

Fund assures continuing payments

Court documents state that the Fund’s intent of filing for Chapter 11 is to allow it to reorganize with the intent of continuing to make payments to the retirees and beneficiaries.

Prior to April 17 bankruptcy filing, the financially troubled pension agency prefunded Pension Holdings Corp. — an interim funding subsidiary of the Fund — with two months of pension payments and two months of health and life insurance premiums.

According to court documents, the Fund reasoned that by funding this account, the retirees will continue to receive full benefit payments for a period of up to two months from a source outside the debtor’s — the Fund’s — estate as the court considers the relief requested.

Last week, the Fund filed a motion seeking entry of an order that will allow it to continue providing benefits “during the pendency of the case.”

The Pension Holdings Corp. account will be exhausted by June 15.

For the Fund, without the court granting the requested relief, the retirees/beneficiaries may not receive benefits from June 15 “through the effective date of a confirmed plan for reorganization.”

In the court filing by the debtor seeking for an order to allow it to continue providing benefits, the Fund stated, “the hardship caused by any gap in benefits will likely result in significant negative consequences to beneficiaries and the commonwealth.