Chrysler executives still hoped to avoid bankruptcy. The UAW had ratified a second round of concessions that froze wages, cut retiree health care benefits and agreed not to strike the company for more than six years. All but a handful of lenders had signed off on the U.S. Treasury's offer of $2 billion to write off $6.9 billion in Chrysler loans. Reluctantly, however, the leaders were recognizing the harsh decision Rattner made weeks earlier: Chrysler was filing for Chapter 11, no matter what. Rattner had met with Ron Kolka, Chrysler's chief financial officer, and told him how it would go. "We need a deal with Fiat today. We were told to pretty much take it," Kolka wrote in an e-mail to Nardelli, Vice Chairman Tom LaSorda and Robert Manzo, a financial consultant Chrysler hired in November. Rattner and his colleague Ron Bloom "will call the union in and tell them what will happen. Then they'll tell the banks, 'Here's the deal: take it or liquidate it.' "