Vowing that "we will argue any way we can to get a dollar back for our clients," a Chemical Bank official confirmed yesterday that, if necessary, it would go after the assets and even the revenue of the Washington Public Power Supply System to protect the interests of bondholders of two canceled nuclear power projects.
The bank, which is the trustee for $2.25 million in bonds sold to finance those plants, said it plans to file suit "as early as this week" against WPPSS and the 88 northwestern utilities that ordered the plants.
"We are not about to take a back seat and let WPPSS pay contractors to the detriment of bondholders," said John Fleming, a Chemical vice president. The bank seeks to assure that any assets from the abandoned reactors sold by WPPSS are paid to Chemical.
He said that the suit, charging the parties with fraud, is meant as "alternative relief," a way of possibly getting some money out of the debacle, in case the Washington State Supreme Court refuses to reconsider its decision that the utilities' contract with WPPSS is not valid and that they are not responsible for their debt to the bondholders.
If the judgment is not reversed, Chemical plans to give WPPSS 90 days to pay the entire $2.25 billion.