PREPA leadership is at stake in court hearing on Monday

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The Title III Puerto Rico bankruptcy judge will hear arguments Monday on the Puerto Rico Oversight Board’s motion to replace the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s leader.

On Oct. 25 the board said it would name Noel Zamot as the authority’s chief transformation officer. On Oct. 26 it filed a motion in U.S. District Court indicating that it wanted Zamot to be the authority’s new leader.

Currently, Ricardo Ramos is the executive director of PREPA.

Since the board’s filing, nine other parties have filed eight responses to the board’s motion. The Puerto Rico Fiscal Authority and Financial Advisory Authority, the Ad Hoc Group of PREPA bondholders, the fuel line holders as represented by Scotiabank, and the PREPA bond trustee U.S. Bank National Association wrote in opposition to the board’s motion.

Bond-insurers National Public Finance Guarantee, Assured Guaranty, and Syncora Guarantee wrote mainly in opposition. However, they said for 120 days Zamot should be made a “co-emergency manager” alongside someone with more electrical industry experience.

The Puerto Rico Energy Commission’s response was neutral on the board’s naming of Zamot. The commission told the judge it wanted the board to be sure to work alongside with the commission in the future.

Most of these parties’ arguments concern whether the board has the authority to appoint a new leader to the authority – the board says it does have it under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act and the other parties generally saying it doesn’t have it.

The hearing will take place in the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, Room 17C, 500 Pearl St., New York at 10 a.m. E.S.T. Judge Laura Taylor Swain will preside. She may or may not issue a ruling Monday.

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PROMESA Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Puerto Rico