Detroit bankruptcy

Politics & Government
7:42 am
Wed October 23, 2013

In this morning's headlines: Detroit bankruptcy trial and fracking rules

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Bankruptcy eligibility trial begins today

"A trial to determine Detroit’s fate in municipal bankruptcy starts today. Judge Steven Rhodes will hear arguments about whether the city qualifies for Chapter Nine protection," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Judge says Detroit EM candidate names  should be revealed

"A Wayne County judge has ruled that state officials must turn over a list of possible candidates for the Detroit emergency manager job," Cwiek reports. This comes after a union activist filed a lawsuit saying the state violated the Open Meeting Act when it appointed Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

DEQ proposes new rules for fracking

The Department of Environmental Quality has proposed new rules for fracking in Michigan. "The rules will require disclosure of chemicals used by developers, and make it easier for people to track where “fracking” is occurring," Rick Pluta reports

Politics & Government
9:51 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

State must release names of candidates considered for Detroit emergency manager job

State officials must turn over the names of all candidates considered for Detroit’s emergency manager job.

A Wayne County Circuit judge court ordered that information be made public Tuesday.

Read more
Politics & Government
7:25 am
Tue October 22, 2013

In this morning's headlines: NERD fund gone, HiPark financial trouble, Det Council rejects loan deal

Morning News Roundup, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Gov. Snyder shuts down NERD fund

"Governor Rick Snyder’s controversial NERD Fund will be shut down this week and replaced. Its official name is the New Energy to Reinvent and Diversify Fund. Governor Snyder used the fund to pick up costs he says should not be paid by taxpayers," Rick Pluta reports.

Highland Park could have an Emergency Manager soon

A state board has determined that the city of Highland Park has probable financial distress. Gov. Rick Snyder will next appoint a review team which could lead to an appointment of an emergency manager. According the Associated Press, "The Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board also determined there is no probable financial distress in Ecorse Public Schools. A similar hearing is scheduled Wednesday for Royal Oak Township."

Detroit City Council rejects loan deal from EM

"The Detroit City Council has rejected a proposed $350 million loan deal. Emergency manager Kevyn Orr . . . planned to use most of the $ 350 million to pay off two banks. That’s controversial because he’s proposed much steeper cuts for other Detroit creditors. Bankruptcy court Judge Steven Rhodes will have to sign off on the deal," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Politics & Government
9:14 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Detroit Council hopes to send message by rejecting loan proposal

The Detroit City Council has rejected a $350 million loan deal secured by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

Orr announced the deal with the British financial giant Barclays earlier this month.

The plan was to use most of the money—about $230 million—to pay off two banks who profited from a bad interest rate swaps deal Detroit made on some pension debt years ago.

Read more
1:49 pm
Sun October 20, 2013

Marketing of Detroit heats up despite bankruptcy

Downtown Detroit (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Convincing executives that Detroit is a comeback city where they should hold meetings and conventions can only be characterized as the most monumental of pitches or the slickest of con jobs.

Convention and visitors bureau marketing chief Bill Bohde says they are plowing forward with a $1.6 million campaign touting it as a great comeback city even after Detroit became the largest U.S. city to seek bankruptcy protection.

Read more
3:37 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Keeping up with the Detroit bankruptcy trial

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
Detroit Free Press video Detroit Free Press

An interview with the Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes.


Today, we’re checking in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes, discussing what’s going on with the Detroit bankruptcy trial.

According to Howes, two phrases for us to consider this week are “status quo” and “collateral damage.”

How has the status quo failed? And what collateral damage would happen if Judge Steven Rhodes approves the Chapter 9 petition?

Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Government
6:39 am
Thu October 17, 2013

In this morning's headlines: Same-sex marriage, Detroit bankruptcy, drug tests and unemployment

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Judge delays decision on same-sex marriage

"A federal judge in Detroit will hold a trial before deciding whether to uphold or strike down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. Judge Bernard Friedman declined to rule yesterday [Wed.] because he wants to get more facts. The challenge was brought by a lesbian couple in Oakland County who want to jointly adopt the special needs kids they’re raising together," Rick Pluta reports.

Detroit bankruptcy hearings begin

"Michigan’s emergency manager law took center stage at a hearing in Detroit’s bankruptcy case yesterday. The court is holding hearings on whether Detroit is even eligible to file for bankruptcy. A formal trial is set for next week," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Bill would end unemployment benefits if a person fails a drug test

"A state Senate panel has approved a bill that would revoke unemployment benefits if a person fails a drug test as part of a job search. The bill now goes to the full state Senate," Jack Neher reports.

Politics & Government
11:15 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Detroit CFO resigns over controversial comments

Kevyn Orr
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s chief financial officer, Jim Bonsall, has resigned.

Bonsall had only been on the job since mid-July. He was brought in by Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, after lobbying for the job through Governor Snyder’s office.

But Bonsall’s management style alienated some. And he came under investigation after a recently-demoted city employee reported racially-charged comments he made at a meeting.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:25 am
Sat October 12, 2013

A summary of the week's news with Jack Lessenberry

State lawmakers have passed bills allowing the city to keep taxing at certain rates. The legislation awaits Governor Snyder's approval.
Bob Jagendorf Flickr

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss Governor Snyder's testimony regarding the Detroit bankruptcy filing, the governor's NERD fund, and the sentencing of former Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick.

The interview can be heard below

Week in review interview for 10/12/13

Politics & Government
10:32 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Detroit will borrow $350 million to pay off debts, boost services

Kevyn Orr
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit will borrow $350 million to help it through bankruptcy and restructuring.

Emergency manager Kevyn Orr announced the deal with the British financial giant Barclays Friday.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:28 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Detroit CFO suspended over "hostile and abusive" comments

Detroit’s new chief financial officer has been suspended.

The city’s former finance director, Cheryl Johnson, has accused Jim Bonsall of creating a hostile work environment, particularly for black women.

Read more
9:40 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Good day for democracy

Lessenberry commentary for 10/11/13

Well, it has been an odd and remarkable week in an odd and remarkable year. Large parts of the federal government are still shut down, and Detroit’s march towards bankruptcy is still proceeding, agonizingly slowly.

Yesterday, however, there was a flurry of good news, most from poor beleaguered Motown itself. The city’s thoroughly corrupt former mayor was sentenced to a record stretch in federal prison.

Read more
2:55 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Will Gov. Rick Snyder testify in the Detroit bankruptcy case?

Gov. Rick Snyder.
Governor Rick Snyder's website

An interview with Daniel Howes.

This week, Gov. Rick Snyder became the state’s first sitting governor to testify under oath in a case.

On Wednesday, Snyder sat through more than three hours of questioning surrounding the Detroit bankruptcy case. Today brought depositions from State Treasurer Andy Dillon and top Snyder advisor Richard Baird.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes recaps what’s happening in the case, and whether we can expect to see the governor called in to testify in the bankruptcy court trial, which begins on Oct. 23.

Listen to full interview above. 

Politics & Government
12:19 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Gov. Snyder questioned under oath in Detroit bankruptcy case


"You were not really committed to working this problem out with me."

That's what Detroit union employees and retirees are saying about Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. They say he was working toward a bankruptcy filing for Detroit all along, and did not negotiate with them "in good faith."

It's a central argument in a court case attempting to stop approval of a Detroit bankruptcy. If it can be proven that the city or the state did not argue in good faith with creditors, it could be a reason to deny Chapter 9 bankruptcy for the city of Detroit. 

Read more
Politics & Government
7:13 am
Fri October 4, 2013

In this morning's headlines: Bars open until 4am, DIA assets, private prison rejected

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Bars could stay open until 4 am

“Legislation at the state Capitol would let downtown bars and restaurants sell alcohol until 4 am. Michigan’s liquor code generally bans alcohol sales between 2 am and 7 am,” Jake Neher reports.

Detroit EM talks DIA assets

“Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr says the Christie's auction house will finish an assessment of city-owned pieces at the Detroit Institute of Arts this month, and he defends including their possible sale in the city's bankruptcy process,” the Associated Press reports.

State rejects private prison

“Michigan has rejected allowing a privately run, for-profit prison to house about a thousand inmates. The state turned down two bids because there was no savings for taxpayers,” Rick Pluta reports.

Politics & Government
4:28 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Kevyn Orr talks privatization, pensions, DIA art at forum

Kevyn Orr
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Kevyn Orr talks frequently with Governor Snyder, considers himself a “technocrat,” and says everything  — including the Detroit Institute of Arts — is “on the table” in Detroit’s bankruptcy.

Orr addressed questions about the bankruptcy, city pensions, and the city’s progression through Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy at a Detroit Economic Club forum Thursday.

Some of the highlights:

Read more
Week in Review
8:30 am
Sat September 28, 2013

Talking about Common Core, Detroit extra pension paychecks, adoption refusal bill

David Defoe flickr

Week in review interview

Each week, I review the news with political analyst Jack Lessenberry.

Today we discussed Common Core education standards, new details about some practices that led to Detroit's financial crisis, and legislation to refuse adoptions based on religious reasons.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:51 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Feds promise to "unlock" millions in Detroit grant money, complement private efforts

The White House is doing what it can to help Detroit—but don’t look for much financial aid to flow from Washington.

Some top administration officials told state and local leaders in Detroit Friday that the White House will “unlock” millions in federal funds for the city.

That’s largely money the city had already been granted, but couldn’t use because it didn’t meet certain federal guidelines.

Read more
Politics & Government
2:14 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

$300 million offered to Detroit by federal officials

White House Economic Council director Gene B. Sperling is one of the federal officials meeting in Detroit. White House

A delegation of President Obama’s top advisors met in Detroit today, announcing $300 million in federal and private funding for the Motor City.

Most of that aid is earmarked: For instance, about $140 million devoted to public transportation, another $30 million reserved for crime reduction, and another $25 million for demolishing abandoned commercial buildings.

This is the first federal intervention in Detroit after the city filed for bankruptcy on July 18. But don’t call it a bailout — according to federal officials, the aid coming into the city came from galvanizing "public and private partners," and is not a full-fledged bailout of the city. Currently, Detroit owes more than $18 billion to its creditors. 

Read more
Politics & Government
7:25 am
Fri September 27, 2013

In this morning's headlines: Feds in Detroit, drug test unemployment bill, Common Core funding

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Obama administration in Detroit, to announce $300 million for the city

White House officials will be in Detroit today. As Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports,

"White House officials are expected to announce about 300 million in public and private dollars for Detroit. It will be a combination of new money, and federal dollars the city had been granted but couldn't access," Cwiek reports.

Fail a drug test, lose unemployment benefits bill moves forward

"Job seekers who refuse or fail an employer drug test could lose their unemployment benefits under a bill adopted by the state House," Rick Pluta reports.

State House votes to restore funding to Common Core

"Michigan would continue to implement a set of state school standards under a resolution that cleared the state House. State lawmakers stopped funding for the implementation of the Common Core standards earlier this year," Jake Neher reports.