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Jefferson County Creditors Need Committee, Official Says

Jefferson County, Alabama’s creditors should have a court-approved committee to represent them in the biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy, federal court official J. Thomas Corbett said today in a court filing.

Corbett, bankruptcy administrator for the federal court in Birmingham, Alabama, asked the judge overseeing the case to appoint three unsecured creditors to a panel that would participate in the case. The creditors are Beckman Coulter Inc., a biomedical testing company, Bayerische Landesbank of New York, and UAB Health System, the medical center that is part of the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

The three companies were the only creditors to respond to Corbett’s request to form an official committee of unsecured creditors. Such committees hire lawyers and financial advisers who are paid by the debtor, in this case Jefferson County.

Committees are independent and can either work as allies of a bankrupt entity, helping support a reorganization plan, or as opponents.

Jefferson County entered bankruptcy in November after government officials and creditors failed to implement a tentative agreement that would have required the county’s sewer debt, which was largely responsible for the filing, to be cut by about $1 billion.

The case is In re Jefferson County, 11-05736, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Alabama (Birmingham).

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