W. Bartley Hildreth Ph.D., is a municipal bond expert witness and a professor of public management and policy in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Dr. Hildreth has been admitted as an expert witness on municipal finance, municipal securities and the municipal bond markets (including auction-rate securities and bankruptcy risk) by the U.S. Federal court system under the Daubert standard and in arbitration hearings by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and, earlier, the National Association of Securities Dealers. Additionally, he has been admitted as an expert witness on matters involving municipal bonds, capital markets, public budgeting and financial management, public finance, and public pension affordability in trial courts in several states. A particular specialty is his ability to analyze a government's ability to pay an obligation.
Expert Witness Engagements
- Deposed and admitted in federal court under the Daubert standard to testify as to the opaque nature of the municipal bond market in a fraud-on-the-market case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against external auditors of a hospital system that subsequently filed for bankruptcy.
- Testified in a National Association of Securities Dealers arbitration hearing on behalf of a broker/dealer against a pay-to-play assertion by regulators, with the confirming decision eventually leading to a change in the regulations to overcome that position.
- Testified in state court against a special authority that asserted that it was a state agency (and, thus, subject to certain legal protections) contrary to its own financial documents and regulatory filings that confirmed that it was a local public entity.
- Testified in a state court bond validation hearing that a special authority’s proposed new bond issue for property acquisition would exceed its ability to pay absent higher taxes than asserted.
- Deposed in a state court case on behalf of a broker/dealer that its sale of auction rate securities to a sophisticated investor was consistent with industry practice and that the failure of auctions was due to systemic problems outside the control of the broker/dealer.
- Testified in a Financial Industry Regulatory Agency arbitration hearing on behalf of a broker/dealer that its sale of auction rate securities to a sophisticated investor was consistent with industry practice and that the failure of auctions was due to systemic problems outside the control of the broker/dealer.
- Testified in federal court on behalf of pension beneficiaries that a large city’s pension reform was premised on faulty ability-to-pay considerations (based on an extensive financial analysis of the city’s finances) and, instead, was due to the lack of a willingness-to-pay. Reprised similar points in a subsequent state court case expert report.
- Testified in federal bankruptcy case on behalf of bondholders that gross toll revenues pledged as collateral for toll bonds are special revenues and that the primary government had reasonable fiscal alternatives instead of the taking of toll revenues for general government purposes.
- Testified in state trial court against a municipal take-over of a private water utility based on an extensive financial analysis of the city’s finances, with special attention on the use of subsidies and transfers in financial stewardship.
- Deposed in federal bankruptcy case on behalf of bondholders that a debt issuer obtains funds directly from the underwriting syndicate and that the functioning of a market depends upon the proposition that investors can relay upon the actions, opinions, and representations of responsible issuer officials and parties to the particular transaction at the time of the original issuance.
- Consultant to a state in the evaluation of tribal gaming contracts, tribal financial affairs, and market practice concerning tribal municipal securities.
- Consultant to a foreign financial firm on the subnational capital market in the United States.
- Consultant on the public financing of amusement and theme parks.
Court and Regulatory Settings
- Federal Courts - admitted under Daubert standard in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Puerto Rico
- State Courts - California, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Texas
- Regulatory Arbitration Hearings - Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (and, earlier, the National Association of Securities Dealers)
- W. Bartley Hildreth, Ph.D.
- Email: BartHildreth at gmail dot com