Governor Snyder, Mayor Bing dismiss letter calling Detroit consent agreement "null and void"

May 17, 2012

Detroit’s top lawyer says the city’s consent agreement with the state isn’t legally binding.

Corporation counsel Krystal Crittenden sent a letter to Governor Snyder’s office calling the agreement “void and unenforceable.”

The letter cites money the state owes the city—and says Detroit’s charter forbids it from entering into agreements with debtors.

State officials called Crittendon’s letter “confusing,” noting city officials must have known these things before entering into the consent agreement. They also denied the state was in default to the city for any reason.

Governor Snyder said Thursday he hoped he whole thing was  “a misunderstanding."

“We’re operating in good faith, to say ‘We believe the agreement’s a good agreement, and we’re working hard on that,’  Snyder said. "So we’re just operating as if the agreement’s valid, and I would hope and expect the city to operate in that same spirit.”

State Treasurer Andy Dillon gave a similar written response to Crittenden.

Snyder said the two sides are moving forward to implement provisions of the consent agreement, including naming members of a nine-member financial advisory board.

Snyder noted he's just named Dr. Glenda Price to the board. Price was a member of the state review team that delcared a financial emergency in Detroit, and a former President of Marygrove College.

For his part, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says he never authorized Crittenden's letter, and that a City Council member must have done so.

Bing said the city shouldn’t “get bogged down by getting into lawsuits that keep us from going forward.”