The attorney representing the Harrisburg, Pa., City Council in its bankruptcy appeal filed a counterclaim Monday against the state, mayor and Dauphin County, all which sought damages against him two weeks ago.
Mark Schwartz has asked the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals to award the City Council damages and sanctions.
The three parties accused Schwartz of filing frivolous appeals after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania rejected the council’s Chapter 9 filing last fall. In an interview, Schwartz in particular lambasted Gov. Tom Corbett and Mayor Linda Thompson for using costly outside attorneys, when each has in-house counsel.
“The governor pays for outside counsel while on his website, he says his in-house counsel is far superior. Tom Corbett has no money for colleges and universities, and no money for food stamps. As a Pennsylvania taxpayer, I’m disgusted. I’ll bet you nobody working for Cozen O’Connor is on food stamps,” said Schwartz, referring to the law firm representing the state.
Tucker Arensberg PC is representing Thompson, while McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC and Mette, Evans & Woodside are representing Dauphin County.
Harrisburg, which faces $310 million in incinerator-related bond debt that it cannot pay, continues without a receiver. David Unkovic, whom Corbett appointed in November, abruptly quit in late March, citing “political and ethical crosswinds” in his handwritten resignation letter.
Unkovic, whose comments Schwartz likened to a “hand grenade,” has hired a Philadelphia attorney, Howard Bruce Klein, to represent him in case the Commonwealth Court, which has jurisdiction over the receivership.
“I would have hoped that the court would have a hearing on this as it poisoned his tenure and the entire environment for a new receiver,” said Schwartz, a solo practictioner and and former bond banker.
Harrisburg in March missed two general obligation bond payments totaling $5.3 million.