Legal counsel hired by ex-Harrisburg overseer Unkovic

David Unkovic, who resigned as court-appointed receiver of the Pennsylvania state capital in March, has retained a lawyer should he be called to testify. Unkovic approved privatisation then quit, citing ‘political and ethical crosswinds’.

Erstwhile Harrisburg receiver David Unkovic has lawyered up a month after “political and ethical” blowback prompted him quit his job as court-appointed liquidator of the flat broke Quaker State capital.

His counsel Howard Bruce Klein told Infrastructure Investor that if Unkovic, who as receiver reinvigorated a plan to privatise parking in Harrisburg as well as lease its waste incinerator, is called to testify before a commonwealth court, he is prepared to do so”.

Klein, a Philadelphia attorney specializing in white collar criminal defense and litigation, declined further comment.

Unkovic left in late March, after he publicly called for a state and federal probe possible fiscal wrongdoing that likely led the municipality to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in October.

In his letter of resignation Unkovic, a former bond attorney who has acted as chief counsel to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, called his position as receiver “untenable,” blaming “political and ethical crosswinds”.

The position is currently unmanned, even though Governor Tom Corbet said he hoped to quickly name a replacement for Unkovic. Corbet spokesman Kevin Harley did not return a voicemail message.

A receiver must be approved by Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, the appellate court for the state, in a hearing. The court might decide to call on Unkovic, spurring his need for retain legal representation.

The city council voted to place Harrisburg in bankruptcy last fall, but a federal court judge revoked the filing. Corbet then put Unkovic in charge of running insolvent Harrisburg.

After auditing Harrisburg, Unkovic championed a previously stymied plan to privatise city parking and lease the Harrisburg Resource Recovery Facility—a waste incinerator unequivocally acknowledged as the chief culprit for setting the city on its road to fiscal ruin.

A parking concession is now pending; Harrisburg has developed a bidder shortlist including Morgan Stanley Infrastructure (MSI) and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP).