Letters and Opinion

Bond swap story was valuable

July 17, 2010

I just wanted to say “well done” regarding your [July 5] article [on bond swaps]. The subject of your report has been a topic near and dear to my heart for about two years.

My interest originated with the class-action I filed on behalf of three plaintiffs against Veolia Water and the city of Indianapolis with respect to certain aspects of the management of Indianapolis Water. Research into the issues involved in this lawsuit led to the extraordinarily complex tangle of financing which is highlighted in your article. I am gratified that the topics you identified in your article have finally received the public scrutiny they deserve, especially the involvement of CDR Financial, an organization that has sewn financial ruin across this country.

The only shortcoming I see in your otherwise excellent article is, in the case of Indianapolis Water, the direct connection between the swap debacle and the rate increase being sought by Indianapolis Water before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission of over 30 percent. Indianapolis Water has presented this rate increase to the public as needed to make costly infrastructure improvements—when in reality it is largely an effort to recoup the $50 million “bet” that they lost on the bond market.

I think it ironic that in the minutes of the meeting of the board of directors of the Department of Waterworks of Nov. 17, 2005, where it announced the bond issuance highlighted in your article, one of the board’s advisers specifically stated that “debt service will not increase” and specifically thanked CDR Financial for its involvement with the transaction. People need to understand that this sort of screw-up hits directly in the pocketbook.

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Peter Kovacs
Stewart & Irwin PC

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