Notes from the Puerto Rico Oversight (Not Control) Board 34th Pileggi Lecture

Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, Vol. 43, Pg. 529, 2019

U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 19-41

22 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2019

See all articles by David A. Skeel

David A. Skeel

University of Pennsylvania Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

Like other bankruptcy scholars, I am drawn to financial crises, wherever they occur. When Puerto Rico’s distress deepened and the island passed its own municipal bankruptcy law back in 2014, I did what comes naturally, shifting my gaze to the Caribbean. I wrote op-eds, an amicus brief, and a short white paper, and I started research for a law review article, in each case telling courts and Congress how they should respond to the looming financial catastrophe. I was bold and confident, as law professors so often are. Sweeping proposals come easy when you know you won’t be one of the people making decisions and wrestling with real world compromises. Then suddenly, I was.

This essay, which begins where an earlier essay concluded, chronicles the Board’s efforts to help restore “fiscal responsibility and access to the capital markets” for Puerto Rico, as PROMESA instructs us to do. I begin with a brief sketch of the depth of Puerto Rico’s economic distress, which had plagued Puerto Rico for a decade when Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit in 2017, and of the principal responsibilities vested in the Oversight Board by PROMESA. I then survey the major decisions the Oversight Board has made—or in some cases, unsuccessfully tried to make—and the challenges that remain as the current Board members near the end of our three-year term.

Keywords: Puerto Rico, bankruptcy, long-term economic distress, PROMESA, Oversight Board, fiscal responsibility & access to capital markets, planning & budget reforms, Hurricane Maria, PREPA, electric utility, deficits, liquidity, Appointments Clause challenge, Aurelius Investment, Supreme Court, SCOTUS

JEL Classification: H71, H74, H75, K39, N16, N26, N36

Suggested Citation

Skeel, David A., Notes from the Puerto Rico Oversight (Not Control) Board 34th Pileggi Lecture (2019). Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, Vol. 43, Pg. 529, 2019; U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 19-41. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3474016

David A. Skeel (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-573-9859 (Phone)
215-573-2025 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

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