Harrisburg Bankruptcy Under Contention

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The City Council of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, immediately triggering a response from Govenor Tom Corbett, who argued that the filing was illegal under state law. The city was plunged into financial debt mainly due to a failed rubbish incinerator deal resulting in total debts of more than $400 million, according to bankruptcy papers. At first, a spokesman for Mayor Linda Thompson said the filing had not been made but subsequently, Mayor Thompson held a press conference denouncing the filing and labeling it “a sneak attack”.

The tussle began when the city council made its decision last Tuesday night in a 4-to-3 vote to file for bankruptcy. A lawyer for the council then faxed a petition for Chapter 9 bankruptcy to the US Bankruptcy Court and followed up with filing it in person on Wednesday morning.

The filing was opposed almost as soon as it was filed when a spokesman for Governor Corbett, Kelli Roberts, said the filing violated the state’s fiscal code, which was amended this year to prevent cities like Harrisburg from filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Roberts said, “For us, this filing is illegal.”

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