The federal judge overseeing the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy moved forward with the case today by appointing an expert witness and a consultant to advise him regarding the case.

Detroit Muncipal Bankruptcy

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven Rhodes named Martha Kopacz as an expert witness for the case, and also named Richard Ravitch as a consultant to the court regarding municipal finance. Ravitch, a former lieutenant governor of New York, advised New York City during the city’s financial crisis in the 1970s. Ravitch has agreed to provide expert consultation without charge and will not be required to testify in the case.

Expert witness chosen from five candidates

Rhodes had to choose from five applicants, including Ravitch, for the expert witness position in this historic Detroit bankruptcy case. The judge noted that all five candidates were highly qualified.

Expert witness duties

Rhodes’ appointment order specified that Kopacz will be asked to determine whether Detroit’s assumptions on future cash-flow projections and forecasts of revenue, expenses and plan payments are reasonable.

June 24th is the deadline for the expert witness’ report. According to Rhodes order, Kopacz will also be available for depositions or to testify in the bankruptcy case if required.

Kopacz bio

Martha Kopacz is currently a senior managing director at Phoenix Management Services in Boston. Before her appointment to the Detroit bankruptcy case, Kopacz had over 30 years of experience in consulting and restructuring for businesses, nonprofits, and public sector agencies. Her resume also lists service as an adviser to the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority, a state oversight board created following the county’s financial crisis.

Detroit approaching bankruptcy case deadlines

Judge Rhodes announced yesterday that he was moving the date for the confirmation hearing on the bankruptcy plan from July 16th to July 24.

Detroit is also bumping up against a Friday deadline to submit another revision of a disclosure statement for its bankruptcy plan before a Monday hearing. The disclosure statement details Detroit’s financial problems and explains how creditors, in specific city retirees and bondholders, will be treated by the debt adjustment plan.