- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 7, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) | The names of nine dissident Chrysler debt holders were disclosed Wednesday, but a number of others chose to avoid the spotlight first put on them a week ago when President Obama publicly chastised them for not supporting his plan for the automaker.

The nine lenders, which include previously disclosed members Stairway Capital Management and OppenheimerFunds Inc., represent just $295 million of Chrysler’s total of $6.9 billion of secured debt.

Previously, lawyers for the group estimated its size at 20 members with about $1 billion in debt.

A spokesman for OppenheimerFunds Inc. declined to comment on Wednesday. The firm manages two funds that hold Chrysler debt. It was also a member of a steering committee composed of seven Chrysler lenders.

The committee was charged with representing the automaker’s senior secured lenders. Last week, Oppenheimer released a statement confirming that it had declined to go along with the government’s proposal.

A message was left Wednesday afternoon for George J. Schultze, managing member at Schultze Asset Management LLC in Purchase, N.Y. The company has two funds among Chrysler’s top lenders that have not received government bailout money.

A message also was left for James McGovern, chief executive officer of Arrowhedge Partners Inc. of Toronto, which also has a fund among the top Chrysler lenders.

The law firm representing the lenders group, White & Case LLP, said in its Wednesday filing that some lenders withdrew from the group for “various reasons.”

In addition, the firm said it knows of other senior lenders that have not consented to the current proposal, but do not want to join their group because of the publicity surrounding the case.

Wednesday’s disclosure comes despite allegations of death threats against the group’s members. Bankruptcy Judge Arthur Gonzalez ruled Tuesday that the list didn’t need to be sealed.

Meanwhile, Chrysler LLC said Wednesday that it is offering up to $6,000 worth of incentives on its 2009 vehicles as it races to emerge from bankruptcy protection and counter a prolonged U.S. sales slump.

The automaker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week and is working to allay consumer anxieties about buying its cars given uncertainty over its future. Chrysler is trying to complete a sale to Italian automaker Fiat Group SpA and hopes to emerge from bankruptcy in 30 to 60 days.

All of its factories have since been idled.

Chrysler said the incentives, which begin on Wednesday, are aimed at reducing the bottom-line price of the car. They include $4,000 cash, $1,000 for current Chrysler vehicle owners, and up to $1,000 for financing through a participating credit union.

The incentives come off prices negotiated with a dealer. They replace employee pricing plus rebates and zero percent financing.



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