San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen
ryan.hagen@ inlandnewspapers.com @sbcitynow on Twitter
Posted: 06/05/2013 08:06:25 PM PDT

Special Section: San Bernardino

RIVERSIDE– A federal bankruptcy judge took several steps Wednesday to accelerate San Bernardino’s bankruptcy case, with a decision on whether the city’s eligible for bankruptcy possible this summer.

City officials have been pushing to finish that part of the case, while its largest creditor, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, argues that the city should first be required to provide additional information that CalPERS’ attorneys say could show the city doesn’t meet two legal requirements: filing a bankruptcy petition in good faith and having a desire to effect a plan to adjust its debts.

Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury said in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Riverside on Wednesday that she didn’t see the relevance of much of the information CalPERS wanted and suggested that it made sense to first “get past this hump” of determining eligibility.

The day represents a huge shift, said Ron Oliner, attorney for the city’s police union.

“This may be the most important day in the case so far in the sense that we’re turning a corner,” Oliner said. “…There’s an end game on eligibility now, for the first time.”

The police union has not disputed that the city is bankrupt. The San Bernardino Public Employees Association, the union representing middle managers in the city, said Wednesday it was no longer arguing that the city is not insolvent and therefore not eligible for bankruptcy protection.

But CalPERS attorney Michael Lubic said new information continues to cast doubt on the city’s good faith and ability to adjust its debts.

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