BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- An attorney for Connecticut yesterday continued to attack this city's fiscal practices in an effort to show that it is not insolvent and that it should not be permitted to go bankrupt.
In the third day of hearings here, Elliot N. Solomon, a lawyer with the Hartford firm of Hebb & Gitlin, which is assisting the state, grilled city Finance Director Richard V. Robinson in cross-examination to undermine his earlier testimony. He charged that the official had been pressured by Mayor Mary C. Moran to change his views on Bridgeport's decision to seek protection.
Mr. Robinson had testified Wednesday that since his July 3 deposition he had come to understand Chapter 9, including how the Bankruptcy Code's municipal section could help Bridgeport correct chronic fiscal problems.
"You did know something about Chapter 9 before June 6," Mr. Solomon said, referring to the day Bridgeport filed its petition here. "And yesterday when you testified, you siaid you had a better understanding of the nuances."
Mr. Robinson said the demands of his job as finance director had prevented him from considering the code in detail, and that he had gained more knowledge. Mr. Robinson testified that he initially opposed Mayor Moran's decision to files, as did other city officials. Yesterday, though, he asserted that he had begun to recognize that bankruptcy could help the city where "traditional" methods had failed.
Mr. Robinson testified that he now holds the belief that "if this Chapter 9 plan is accepted and the restructuring plan goes forward, that [will show] the financial community that the city has taken control. Then the bond rating will be restored." Standard & Poor's Corp. and Moody's Investors Service both lowered ratings on this city's uninsured debt to speculative levels in the wake of the bankruptcy filing.
"If this petition is denied," Mr. Robinson warned, "not only will we have a continuing problem with restructuring, but we will have it without the assistance" offered by court protection. "Without some type of outside help we will be in even more dire straits than we are in today."
Mr. Solomon's cross-examination of Mr. Robinson lasted more than three hours. The state expects to call its first witnesses today, Attorney General Ricahrd Blumenthal said. He added that Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr., who had initially been subpoenaed by Bridgeport attorneys, might take the stand as a witness for the state. State Treasurer Francisco L. Borges was scheduled to testify as a witness for Bridgeport late yesterday afternoon.