Treasury Pushed Reluctant Chrysler Into Fiat Deal

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2009 9:21 AM CDT
Treasury Pushed Reluctant Chrysler Into Fiat Deal
In this May 26 photo, liquidation signs fill the windshields of new cars in the showroom of the Timberline Dodge dealership in Portland, Ore.   (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

The Obama administration foisted the Fiat alliance on Chrysler, brushing aside its concerns about Fiat’s financial health and unwillingness to share technology, the Wall Street Journal reports. E-mails filed during Chrysler’s bankruptcy proceedings show Fiat ignoring requests for documents, reluctant to ante up funds, and attempting to change contract terms late in the talks. Chrysler officials worried that they, and the government, might find themselves “in bed with a shady partner.”

Treasury was so intensely involved in negotiations that it once chastised Chrysler’s CEO for working on Daimler issues without Treasury’s okay. In one e-mail, a Chrysler official derisively calls the department “God.” In another, a government lawyer calls a lawyer for dissident debt holders a “terrorist.” Chrysler says any comments from the e-mails reflect hyperbole in the heat of negotiations, and the administration says any concerns about Fiat have been worked out. (Read more Chrysler stories.)

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