Award-winning business journalist

Public Finance

Ellie has written extensively on public finance and the economy of troubled cities and states. She covered the public debt crisis in Puerto Rico, the notorious city-bankruptcies of Stockton and San Bernardino in California, Michigan’s troubled school districts’ financial problems and the public pension crisis across the U.S.


Cities and States in trouble

LA, Chicago Listen Up: Clock Is Ticking For Cities Sitting on Costly Swaps | Dozens of American cities are sitting on financial time bombs that have already cost them millions in payments to Wall Street banks. 

Stockton Pensions Dodge Bankruptcy Bullet, But Future Retirees Beware | The thought of cutting pensions in a city bankruptcy used to bring up only one response: “no way.” That concept of pension supremacy has been left teetering after developments in the closely watched Stockton, California, bankruptcy case.

The U.S. has its own ‘oil curse’ | The term “oil curse” — coined to describe petro-rich developing countries where the “black gold” came with the heavy price of economic and political instability — is now being adapted for use in the U.S., where “petrostates” and cities are seeing shrinking tax revenues, budget deficits, negative credit ratings, rising unemployment and even outright recession as oil prices have fallen.


Puerto Rico’s financial meltdown

The Next Financial Catastrophe You Haven't Heard About Yet: Puerto Rico | Until recently, Puerto Rico was an investors’ tax heaven, renowned for its sandy beaches and killer rum. But the island is in dire financial condition and thousands of U.S. mom-and-pop investors may lose a big part of their savings if the small territory goes bankrupt.

Wall Street Waits While Statehood Debate Handcuffs Puerto Rico Decision Makers | Puerto Rico has become much more than a vacation destination for anyone who invests their money on Wall Street, plans for retirement using pension funds, or even pays taxes.

3 things to know about Puerto Rico’s debt crisis | Puerto Rico managed to make a $645.2 million payment on its general-obligation debt Wednesday, but the cash-strapped U.S. territory remains on a path to restructuring, as Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla has established a group of senior officials to negotiate a debt moratorium with bondholders.

What to Do About Puerto Rico's Debt | Ellie Ismailidou and Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Pedro Pierluisi discuss the ideas being floated about Puerto Rico's current debt which is four times that of Detroit, including one which would allow the country's municipalities to declare bankruptcy.