Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lawyers get paid as Nortel's case drags on

Recently, things have been quiet on the Nortel US bankruptcy as the court considers a variety of issues. Whilst we wait to see what is gong to happen to our case, and our claims, multiple lawyers are constantly receiving payments with money taken out of the remaining Nortel estate. Yesterday alone, there were 14 applications for compensation by a number of different law firms as listed on the court dockets published on Epiq.

So far there has been little communication on the status of the discussions of various representatives regarding the allocation of the estate between various geographies. The longer they drag that out the more money will be paid to all those lawyers and the less will be left for claimants.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Canadian pension cut Back

According to latest news published on the NRPC web site Morneau Shepell has informed the NRPC that the Canadian pension cut back will probably not be before May. Also there will be a notification to everyone 60 days before the cut back takes place.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bill C-501 no longer includes pensions

The Canadian politicians using all their back room skills managed to torpedo the pension references in the bill so that now it only addresses termination and severance payments.

Once again the Canadian government has shown how little it cares for the elderly and the disenfranchised. There was never any intention by those in power to support the Nortel pensioners in their time of need. Instead they played along, made promises and lied in order to buy time and to work deals to ensure that we pensioners once again are pushed to the bottom of the heap. Our plight and the desperate situation of the disabled Nortel people means nothing to these professional leeches.

Instead of living under the dictates of a single authoritarian like those Middle Eastern countries now in turmoil, Canada appears to live under the dictates of an anointed few who care nothing for the real people. Is that really democracy?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Morneau Shepell approves new pensions at 50%

As stated on the Koskie Minsky web site, it has been decided to offer the commuted value of new pensions to Nortel people at 50% of the full pension value and also provide the opportunity for disabled people who are not yet pension age to also take out their commuted value at the 50% level.
The details can be seen at:

I presume that this is an interim decision to offer 50% and that adjustments will be made when the final proper ratio is determined for the pension fund.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Offer to purchase claim

I received an interesting call today from Liquidity Solutions. They are making offers to unsecured creditors of Nortel to purchase claims at 40 cents on the dollar. I think that may be a good indication that the market thinks the Nortel estate will be worth more than 40 cents on the dollar. in fact I received an email from a colleague who had seen discussions that the outstanding Nortel bonds are selling around 80 cents.

So I think I am going to hold off selling at this point. Liquidity Solutions are sending me information about their offer. When I receive it I will post it here. I presume that this is related to the Nortel US company since that is the only one I have a claim against at this point

Here is some information on the bond sales sent to me by the colleague I mentioned above.,,SB10001424052748703960804576120463615113454,00.html

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bill C-501 status by John Rafferty MP

From Canadian House of Parliament

John Rafferty, MP. (Thunder Bay-Rainy River)

Week of February 11-17, 2011.

With the new session of parliament in full swing I’d like to give an update on Bill C-501 which is still making it’s through the legislative cycle. There have been some recent developments in regard to the bill and the way forward has become clearer in recent days.

Despite some erroneous media reports Bill C-501 is in fact alive and well and is continuing its journey through parliament. On occasion, the parliamentary process can be quite complex and it would seem that a few media outlets have misunderstood the impact of some recent developments. I just wanted to clarify first, and above all else, that C-501 will in fact be heading back to the House for a final vote sometime this spring.

Some of the confusion about the status of C-501 came with the defeat of a motion in the House of Commons that related to the bill. I realized that there was still some opposition among primarily Conservative, but also Liberal, MPs to the idea of putting pension plans ahead of banks and large financial institutions so I put forward a motion that could have enabled a compromise amendment to be negotiated between our parties. In short, I asked the House of Commons for permission to amend C-501 at the Industry Committee so that pensions and severance pay would be placed in the middle of the list of creditors during restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings instead of at the very front which the bill sought to do in its original form. Unfortunately, this motion was defeated but the bill itself remains alive and has not been impacted.

The type of motion that I tabled is known as a “Motion of Instruction” and it required the unanimous consent of the House of Commons in order to pass. The motion itself would have only allowed the negotiation process on C-501 to begin and empowered the Industry Committee to make a compromise amendment if it so desired. Putting pensions behind banks but ahead of all other creditors seemed like a common sense compromise and could have made it easier for many Conservative MPs to support the bill since it would have shielded the big banks from any and all fallout that could occur as a result of them being bumped down a notch in the list of creditors and being placed behind pension plans. However, instead of allowing a compromise to be negotiated in the Industry Committee, the Conservatives refused to grant their approval to the negotiation process and rejected the very idea of working together on the issue. This regrettable decision by the Conservatives was not shocking, but it was disappointing.

While my efforts to work with the other parties to reach a compromise on C-501 were essentially killed by the Conservatives the bill itself is still very much alive and kicking. As I write this column, C-501 is presently scheduled to be examined for a final time at the Industry, Science, and Technology Committee on Tuesday February 15th. There will be some minor amendments made to the bill to clear up some language issues, but I am not expecting any significant changes to be made to its content.

Once this last committee meeting is over with and the final version of C-501 is returned to the House there must be two further hours of debate and then a final vote at what is called ‘Third Reading.’ The two hours of debate are likely to occur in March or early April and the final vote is expected in early-to-mid April. In this final vote the support of the Liberals will be crucial to getting C-501 passed and moved into the Senate. If the Liberals show up and support this bill and agree to put the interests of pension plans and retirees ahead of banks and primary lenders, then the bill will move into the Senate where a new battle begins against those unelected and unaccountable Conservative senators; but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes.

So that is where C-501 is at presently – alive and well and moving forward. We now know that the bill will emerge from the Industry Committee sometime in the next week, and be back into the House in its final form for debate and a vote in the next 60 days. Had the Conservatives simply shown a willingness to cooperate on the bill and create a more moderate and workable version then its speedy passage could likely have been guaranteed. With that being said, there is still a lot of support among MPs for putting pensions and retirees ahead of banks, so my staff and I will be working hard in Ottawa to get the Liberals and Bloc on board and to ensure the bill makes it into the Senate. After that anything is possible.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

nortel patent sale delayed

According to a story on Reuters, the sale of Nortel patents has been delayed. It was hoped that the sale of the patents would realize close to $1B. According to Reuters Nortel has not been able to get a high enough starting bid on the patents.


There are 4000 Patents registered with the US office and around 1500 Canadian patents.

Any cash generated by the sale of the patents will help raise the final Nortel estate that will be split between creditors in multiple countries.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nortel disabled take battle to Supreme Court

Toronto Sun

Nortel disabled take battle to Supreme Court


Last Updated: February 8, 2011 4:05pm

OTTAWA - For a group of former Nortel employees who had their long-term disability, health, dental and pension benefits cut off at the end of last year, there is nowhere to go but up.

The workers will stage their final stand outside the Supreme Court in their long-running attempt to be moved closer to the head of the creditor line when the dying company's assets are finally doled out.

The disabled workers object to a $57-million sunset deal negotiated by a court-appointed monitor with the company in February 2010.

In that deal, Nortel agreed to fund long-term disability benefits until Dec. 31, 2010. In exchange, the employees lost their right to sue the company and any of its executives over the drastically underfunded trust account Nortel had supposedly self-insured.

As common creditors, they can expect an average of only 34% of what they had been receiving up until the end of last year.

Once Nortel is legally out of business, the workers will find themselves in a pool with other common creditors fighting for a small percentage of the dead company's assets.

Unable to work, many are afraid they won't be able to afford expensive medications and bills without going on social assistance.

Mark Zigler of Koskie Minsky LLP, the court-appointed law firm representing the former workers, has repeatedly said court battles would be costly and doomed to failure.

Toronto attorney Joel Rochon came on board on an unpaid retainer last year and is leading the fight for the disabled with independent financial analyst Diane Urquhart.

No court date has yet been scheduled.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nortel Canada Tel. No. discontinued

The following post was made on the Yahoo Nortel Pension Group regarding a message from Don Treen to NRPC members concerning the discontinuance of the 1-800 telephone number in Canada for Nortel.

We have been informed by Nortel US that the Canada 1-800 number for updating personal information with Nortel is no longer active. The number now is 1-919-905-9351. We had not been previously advised that this was going to occur and are disappointed that this step was taken without consultation with any of the employee/retiree representatives. Please ensure that if you have recently moved or had other personal life changes that you make the necessary changes to your records by calling the above number. You should put this number in your personal papers in the event that future changes need to be made.

Donald Treen

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Deferred compensation Nortel US

Docket 4840 on the Epiq web site contains a letter submitted by Daniel Ray on behalf of himself and acting with the approval of Nortel outlining the deferred compensation plan of 2000 that has impacted over 400 ex employees. His letter supports the company's position that the money in the fund is part of the general account and as such is only considered a claim on the estate as an unsecured creditor. His submission contains lots of attachments which outline the steps taken by Nortel to inform participants of the risk involved.

Unfortunately there is no other option according to Daniel Ray, although the company has been continuing to pay the deferred compensation to plan participants since the filing in 2009.

There have been multiple objections filed by plan participants affected, including at least one widow who has depended on these payments as a sole source of income. In spite of the fact that this money is real salary earned and set aside for future payments, Nortel is choosing to confiscate the money and deny the participants in the plan any hope of recouping all the moneys they earned. Instead they now join the queue of unsecured creditors who will be fighting over the remainder of the Nortel estate.

Considering the bonuses paid out to the remaining management in Nortel, this move smacks of Shylock extracting a final pound of flesh from the victims of Nortel's disdain and inhumanity. A once honorable and compassionate company appears to be guided now by charlatans and shysters.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tories kill NDP pension bill compromise

The following information was presented on John Rafferty's web site. Looks like Bill C501 is running into hard opposition from the Tories who seem to be puppets for the banks and bondholders.

Tories Kill NDP Efforts To Reach Compromise On Pensions
Wed 2 Feb 2011

Motion could have protected banks, secured pensions during bankruptcy proceedings

OTTAWA – Today, Conservative MPs refused to grant their consent to a New Democrat motion in the House of Commons that would have allowed a compromise deal to be reached on Bill C-501, to secure pensions and severance pay for millions of Canadian workers when their employers entered restructuring or bankruptcy proceedings. It would also have shielded banks from any risk associated with the proposed change.

“The majority of Conservative MPs voted against C-501 at Second Reading because they said putting pension deficits at the top of the creditors list would have posed too great a risk to our banks and primary lenders,” said John Rafferty (Thunder Bay – Rainy River) the New Democrat MP who tabled the bill.

“The motion I tabled in the House today would have allowed the Industry Committee to consider a compromise amendment to the bill that would have eliminated the risks to banks and secured creditors entirely while ensuring that pensions and severance pay of millions of workers was more secure in bankruptcy proceedings. Sadly, the Conservatives would not consent to the motion and thus rejected the very idea of reaching a compromise on the matter.”

When asked who was behind the Conservative decision to defeat the motion Rafferty said he had a pretty good idea. “In a Westminster system of parliament such as ours it is the House Leaders in the individual party caucuses that are responsible for giving directions to their MPs to support or oppose such motions,” Rafferty noted. “As the Conservative House Leader, John Baird (Ottawa West - Nepean) had to have been the one who gave the orders to Conservative MPs in the House to oppose this motion.”

Rafferty said the Conservatives’ determination to defeat what was a fairly benign motion defied basic common sense. “It’s hard to imagine Stephen Harper’s Conservatives opposing a motion to allow a compromise on a bill to help millions of Canadians – but they did just that,” he said. “Mr. Baird in particular should have gone out of his way to encourage negotiation and a compromise on this issue given what transpired at Nortel. Instead, he basically vetoed the idea of reaching a compromise.”

Despite the setback, Rafferty said he will continue to lobby hard to get C-501 passed at Third Reading in the House of Commons and into the Senate before the summer.

“There is a strong moral case that the pensions and severance pay of workers should come before banks and large financial institutions during corporate restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings,” he said. “It passed one vote already, so MPs clearly see the importance and necessity of such reform.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No impact on cash from Nortel accounting rule change

Earlier I posted an announcement from Nortel regarding an accounting change that would include a charge of $2B. At that time I wondered if that change would impact the cash left in the Nortel estate when it finally goes under.

I received the following comment from a memeber of the NRPC team, which indicates that there would be no impact

There is no direct cash impact on any of the country estates. Koskie Minsky has checked this out for us. This is strictly an accounting issue on how charges are allocated now that subsidiaries are being sold.