BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- A U.S. bankruptcy judge Thursday gave final approval of Jefferson County's settlement regarding the lease of the Bessemer Courthouse.
Judge Thomas Bennett accepted the county's argument that the new lease makes economic sense and preserves the courthouse for the benefit of the county and its citizens.
"This is a significant move," Jefferson County CEO Tony Petelos says. "Judge Bennett's approval of the settlement helps ease the county's cash flow and preserves the Bessemer Courthouse location for the long term."
The Jefferson County Commission approved a lease agreement in September that reduces rentpayments, extends the length of the lease to 2037 and reserves the right of the county to renewthe lease on a year-by-year basis. Under the agreement, the county retains the right to own thecourthouse at the end of the lease term. Jefferson County leases the property through theJefferson County Public Building Authority.
The settlement involves the Authority, First Commercial Bank and Ambac Assurance Corporation, which insures financing of the property.