Bing: Detroit will go broke within a week if city lawyer doesn't back off lawsuit

Jun 8, 2012

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and his Chief Financial Officer, Jack Martin, warn the city could go broke as soon as next week.

That’s because Detroit’s top lawyer, Kyrstal Crittendon, filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of the city’s consent agreement with the state.

Crittendon argues the agreement is “void and unenforceable” because the state owes the city money—and it’s illegal to enter into a contract with a debtor.

State officials say that entire premise is nonsense.

But they also now say that if Crittendon doesn’t drop the suit, they’ll void a critical part of the consent agreement—one that forwarded the city $80 million in revenue sharing.

Bing says his level of frustration is "off the charts" these days, adding, "

At a brief press conference Friday morning, Bing described his frustration level as “off the charts.” “I never anticipated that it would be this difficult to get things done," he said.

Bing says he’s pleaded with Crittendon to withdraw the suit—but he can’t force her to do that, because the city's new charter allows its corporation counsel to act independently.

“We don’t think there’s any value from our vantage point—from those of us who have to run the city on a day-to-day basis—to get involved in a lawsuit," Bing noted. "So we hope that she would drop the lawsuit.”

Bing had called for a special session with the Detroit City Council Friday to discuss their options.

But Council President Charles Pugh pushed the meeting back. It’s now scheduled for early Monday morning.