Stockton goes to bankruptcy court | News
STOCKTON, CA - The City of Stockton took the latest step in the bankruptcy process Friday, appearing in Sacramento before Federal Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein.
The first hearing in the process lasted nearly 90 minutes, and included Klein making a judgment on Stockton's desire to make it's financial mess public. Judge Klein said much of the recent mediation process will remain confidential, because he expects Stockton to continue meeting in private with it's many creditors.
"Continued mediation is more than important, it's essential," said Klein before a room crowded with attorneys.
Stockton is represented by Sacramento bankruptcy attorney Mark Levinson, but also in court were attorneys representing the many banks, insurance companies, unions and retiree groups that Stockton owes money to.
Judge Klein also said "I'm not gonna solve this case", meaning it's up to those attorneys to make progress. Levinson agreed.
"Bankruptcy judges don't propose the plan. The parties proposed the plan. Judges have the power to say 'yes I approve or no I don't'. He never sits down and says 'you give this and you give that'. That doesn't work in bankruptcy, period," said Levinson.
Judge Klein set August 9th as the deadline for groups opposing Stockton's bankruptcy to have their paperwork complete. The next court date is August 23rd.
Stockton's current budget deficit is $26 million. The city has made $116 million of budget cuts the past four years.