Defending its plan to fully repay its debts to CalPERS, the bankrupt city of San Bernardino has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by creditors demanding equal treatment.
The city’s motion is the latest chapter in the ongoing saga over public pensions in California and how they’re treated in bankruptcy. The judge overseeing Stockton’s case ruled last fall that municipal pension plans can be altered just like any contract in bankruptcy, but he also approved the city’s plan to keep paying CalPERS in full in order to preserve its retirement program.
A similar fight is playing out in San Bernardino, which filed for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in 2012. After months of bickering, the city said it planned to pay its $24 million-a-year CalPERS bill in full and had begun repaying the big pension fund millions of dollars in past-due payments.
Two of San Bernardino’s creditors filed suit over that plan in January: Luxembourg bank EEPK and Ambac Assurance Corp., a New York bond insurer. They’re seeking repayment on a $59 million bond issued by the city in 2005.