Louisiana residents set to welcome a record-tying 10th Super Bowl to New Orleans just got another reminder of the botched financing to repair the city’s National Football League stadium after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.
Seven months after Hurricane Katrina ripped holes in the Superdome’s roof in 2005, Louisiana State Bond Commission members made what they were told would be “the best of a bad situation” in financing the stadium’s renovation.
Ask a Nobel Prize-winning economist what’s the difference between the mayor of Baltimore losing taxpayer money with derivatives sold by Wall Street and millions of Americans defaulting on subprime loans and he’ll say there isn’t any: State and local governments are victims of opaque financing they don’t understand, the same way individuals go broke on borrowing at rates too good to be true.
There is a feeling today among too many Americans that we might not make it. That we have become Britain, or ancient Rome or Greece. Not that we, as a people, have lost anything of our potential, but that we as a republic have.
The agency that supplies drinking water to almost 19 million Los Angeles-area residents paid $47.2 million to unwind interest-rate swaps with banks. Unlike many municipal issuers, ratepayers didn’t come away with a loss.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Charles LeCroy said the key to landing bond deals in Jefferson County, Alabama, was finding out whom to pay off. In one example, that meant a $2.6 million payment to Bill Blount, a local banker and longtime friend of County Commissioner Larry Langford.