As the battle between the bankrupt city of Harrisburg and its debt backers played out on the political stage this year, it turns out one side was at the Governor's mansion cutting deals and the other was out in the cold.
Care to guess which side prevailed?
Bloomberg reports that while Harrisburg was trying to negotiate terms of its debt, Assured Guaranty Municipal, the Bermuda-based insurer that has backed much of Harrisburg's $310 million debt had hired a lobbying powerhouse to ensure they got what was owed them.
Harrisburg, where almost 30 percent of its 50,000 residents live in poverty, had no such influence peddlers working on its behalf.
AGM hired Greenlee Partners -which gave 50k to Corbett campaigns since 2004 - and whose clients include The Hershey Trust, Verizon, Wal-Mart, Range Resources and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It has also worked with Dauphin County, the county in which Harrisburg is located, which is a second guarantor on about half the city's debt.
Greenlee senior partner Stan Rapp met in May with both Corbett and representatives from Dauphin County to negotiate the city's recovery plan, according to Bloomberg. The legislature in Oct. rushed through legislation to take over Harrisburg city operations, with Corbett naming a receiver.
The city ended up deep in the red in large part because of a failed trash incinerator project which was supposed to generate income, but instead became a drain on city finances. The city's incinerator debt now tops $310 million.
"There was no one advocating for the city of Harrisburg," City Councilman Brad Koplinski told Bloomberg. "The city did feel outgunned."