U.S. automaker Chrysler on Monday slammed Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock as making demands that would ultimately push the carmaker into liquidation -- resulting in the loss of more than 4,000 jobs and 9,000 retiree pensions in Indiana alone.
Mourdock, who oversees pension funds invested in Chrysler debt, has objected to Chrysler LLC's plan to quickly sell itself in bankruptcy, claiming it is a dangerous path that would hurt pensions for thousands of his state's retirees.
The Indiana pension funds have filed court papers requesting that an examiner be appointed to investigate Chrysler's business decisions, and that the company be placed in the hands of a Chapter 11 trustee who can act independently of the government. The funds also mounted a challenge to the company's plan in U.S. District Court.
Chrysler claimed in a statement on Monday that Mourdock, a Republican, is willing to put Chrysler in liquidation over less than 1 percent of the three funds' assets.
It calculates that the combined Chrysler-related investments in the three state pension funds in question totaled approximately $17 million and the cumulative loss under the proposed deal would be about $2 million.
The treasurer's actions lead one to wonder if his motives are financial or political, the statement said.
Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in April and announced an industry-changing deal with Italy's Fiat
Detroit-based Chrysler has a government deadline of June 15 to close the transaction to sell itself to a New Chrysler owned by the U.S. and Canadian governments, Chrysler's union and Fiat, according to recent court papers.
Chrysler's unsecured creditors' committee has said in court papers that if the sale were not able to go forward it would mean certain liquidation for the iconic U.S. automaker.
Chrysler, its creditors' committee, and Fiat have filed a series of court documents asking the U.S. District Court in Manhattan to reject a request by the pension funds that the court intervene in the bankruptcy case and postpone the sale of Chrysler's assets.
Chrysler said in Monday's statement it is committed to supporting its operations in Indiana.
(Editing by Leslie Adler)