United States

Bankruptcy Judge Grants PG&E Access to $1.5 Billion in Loans

The U.S. bankruptcy judge Thursday agreed to allow PG&E to obtain $1.5 billion in loans and hand out $130 million in manager bonuses -- even as attorneys for wildfire victims objected and begged the court to give their cases top priority.

After court, the attorneys who hoped the court would sympathize with their clients’ plight were quick to denounce the bonuses approved by Judge Dennis Montali for mid-level managers at PG&E.

“Instead of paying victims, who they’d agreed to pay, they stiff them,” said Mike Danko, who says the company has already defaulted on settlements related to the Butte fire in Calavaras County in 2015. “Then they submit papers, looking to give bonuses to the very executives who oversaw the carnage in the first place,” Danko added.

After PG&E argued the bonuses were for a period of time well after the Butte fire, the judge approved them.

During a long day in court, the company got much of what it wanted. Including approval of $1.5 billion in what may ultimately be $6 billion in loans needed to keep it operating during the bankruptcy process.

The attorney for the company began the proceeding by stressing that his company had no choice but to declare bankruptcy to protect fire victims, and pledged to create a trust fund to compensate them.

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