Rumors, credible rumors, are beginning to circulate in the car industry and the automotive press, that Chrysler may not make it another year primarily due to its falling sales and growing financial losses at partner Fiat....
The Congressional Oversight Panel has already said taxpayers will not see most of the $81 billion that they put into the American car industry. The $14.3 billion put into Chrysler is more and more likely to be lost completely. The biggest single loser if Chrysler cannot survive is the UAW which owns 55% of the company.
I struggle to cry much for the UAW with that last part. They only own 55% because the President intervened to give what should have belonged to the secured credit holders over to the UAW in exchange for being so helpful in getting him elected.
In January 2009, Chrysler stood on the brink of insolvency. Purporting to act under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the Treasury extended Chrysler a $4 billion loan using funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Still in a bad financial situation, Chrysler initially proposed an out-of-court reorganization plan that would fully repay all of Chrysler's secured debt. The Treasury rejected this proposal and instead insisted on a plan that would completely eradicate Chrysler's secured debt, hinging billions of dollars in additional TARP funding on Chrysler's acquiescence.
When Chrysler's first lien lenders refused to waive their secured rights without full payment, the Treasury devised a scheme by which Chrysler, instead of reorganizing under a chapter 11 plan, would sell its assets free of all secured interests to a shell company, the New Chrysler. Chrysler was thus able to avoid the "absolute priority rule," which provides that a court should not approve a bankruptcy plan unless it is "fair and equitable" to all classes of creditors.
I had more here.
Update: A firsthand account from a hosed secured creditor (pdf)
Details of the bankruptcy were unprecedented. For the first time in American history and totally counter to all established laws of bankruptcy, secured creditors would receive less than nonsecured creditors....
Indiana's legal filings in the Chrysler, LLC bankruptcy sale made three essential points: First, the bankruptcy laws which have been in place protecting the rights of secured creditors cannot be arbitrarily overthrown by an act of the Executive. This is a violation of Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution in that Congress is solely assigned the role to determine uniform bankruptcy law. Neither the Courts nor the Executive can do this arbitrarily. Our funds suffered a "taking" in violation of the Fifth Amendment in that there was no "due process of law". There was, and is in all financial arrangements between debtor and creditor, a contractual relationship, which is here being rendered null and void. If allowed to stand, this violation of two party contracts undermines a basic and essential tenet of debt financing in the capital markets.
Second, money provided by the federal government to Chrysler is being provided illegally and clearly counter to the intent of Congress. When TARP was being debated then Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson testified the money was NOT for the auto companies. It was targeted to aid the ailing financial industry, i.e, those with "Troubled Assets" that needed a "Recovery Program." Evidence that the money was NOT intended to be an automotive bailout bill could not be more clearly illustrated than to review the failure of the separate automobile bailout bill presented in Congress in December 2008. If Congress had intended the TARP bill to cover the auto companies when it passed in October 2008, why were they even attempting to pass a separate automobile bailout bill just two months later? We believe both the Bush and Obama administration have acted illegally in this use of TARP funds.
Third, we argue that a sub rosa or "under-the-table-arrangement" between the Treasury and Chrysler prevented a fair valuation of the assets. In a legitimate auction sale, no potential bidder would be allowed to set the value of the assets being auctioned. But that is precisely what happened in this case as the Treasury was assigning values to creditors, determining which assets would be liquidated, what new parties, (i.e., Fiat SpA), would be brought into the deal, and how a new dealership network would be defined, etc. It was known from the outset that when the Chapter 11, Section 363 sale of the assets would occur, there would be only one bidder: the U.S. Treasury. Secured creditors could not have their rights protected or fairly valued in such an arrangement. Such an "insider-deal" reeks of impropriety.