Kevyn Orr

Law
7:00 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Detroit bankruptcy judge rejects bid to keep loan terms secret

The judge in Detroit’s bankruptcy case has denied a bid to keep some details of a controversial loan agreement secret.

Judge Steven Rhodes ruled Thursday that the city must disclose all the terms of a proposed loan from the British financial giant Barclays. That loan deal is as complex as it is controversial.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Fri November 15, 2013

In 'a big surprise' to Detroit leaders, state to pay little for city's restructuring consultants

Detroit’s elected leaders are shocked that the state has put a strict limit on how much it will pay for the city’s many restructuring consultants.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed last year, the state agreed to reimburse Detroit for half the cost of those outside contractors.

But Detroit’s finance director told the City Council Wednesday those reimbursements would be capped at $5 million.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Duggan looks for smooth transition in Detroit

Mike Duggan
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s next mayor says he’s making plans to hit the ground running—but it’s unclear what powers he’ll have to implement them.

Mike Duggan named former Detroit State Representative Lisa Howze and former Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon to co-chair his transition team Wednesday.

They’re looking for volunteers with expertise in various parts of city government to fill out the team.

Duggan says this team will come up with an operational plan—but whether he can implement it is another matter.

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Detroit bankruptcy
1:03 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Judge will soon decide whether Detroit will get bankruptcy protection

The next steps for Detroit? This man will soon decide. Judge Steven Rhodes.
John Meiu Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

Today is the last day U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will accept documents from all sides of the Detroit bankruptcy case.

Rhodes will then look at all the evidence and decide whether the city of Detroit can reorganize itself under Chapter 9 bankruptcy laws. 

Rhodes has heard a lot. The city's future path will be up to him.

His decision will be based upon a) whether the city truly has no other options to pay its debts, a b) whether the city negotiated in good faith with its creditors prior to saying bankruptcy was the only way.

No one seems to be arguing that the city has a viable way to pay its debts. And Daniel Howes of the Detroit News argues that defining "good faith" negotiations in exceedingly difficult in this case.

That's because Detroit owes money to nearly 100,000 creditors.

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Politics & Government
2:36 pm
Sat November 9, 2013

Detroit retiree health coverage OK through February

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The city of Detroit is suspending a plan to change retiree health insurance, at least through February.

Emergency manager Kevyn Orr says his staff will negotiate with a committee created to represent retirees during the city's bankruptcy case. He hopes it will lead to a long-term solution.

The city had proposed shifting retirees to Medicare, effective Jan. 1. Retirees under age 65 would have been given a $125 monthly stipend to get their own insurance.

Politics & Government
7:51 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Lawyers wrap case in Detroit bankruptcy trial

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Attorneys have ended final arguments in a rare trial to determine whether Detroit can become the largest municipality to fix its finances in bankruptcy court.

The daylong remarks Friday for and against a Chapter 9 reorganization now will be sorted out by Judge Steven Rhodes. He could take days to make the decision.

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Opinion
2:44 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Merging Detroit and Wayne County is the only long-term strategy that makes sense

Lessenberry commentary for 11/8/2013.

Well, it was quite a week for our state’s largest city. Voters elected a white mayor for the first time since 1969.

Had you gone to Lloyds of London 10 years ago and bet that within a decade, America would have a black president and Detroit a white mayor, today you would be very rich indeed.

But in the city Cadillac founded, attorneys today will offer closing arguments in a trial to determine whether the city will be allowed to file for bankruptcy. While everything in Federal Judge Steven Rhodes’ courtroom is by the book, there is an element of Kabuki-theater unreality about it all.

Nobody really believes the application will be denied. If it were, creditors would tear what remains of Detroit apart with the efficiency of a pack of wolves with a lamb.

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Stateside
4:32 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

How will Detroit's new mayor work with Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr?

Right, Mike Duggan, the new mayor of Detroit
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, Mike Duggan won his campaign for mayor of Detroit, beating out Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon 55% to 45%.

Now, the big question after Duggan’s victory: How will the new mayor and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr work together? Will their relationship be more constructive than that of Orr and Mayor Dave Bing?

Daniel Howes, a business columnist with the Detroit News, talks to us about the new relationship between Duggan and Orr.

Listen to the full interview above.

Law
1:50 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Former state Treasurer Andy Dillon finishes Detroit bankruptcy testimony

Former state Treasurer Andy Dillon.
Associated Press

Former state Treasurer Andy Dillon finished his testimonial in Detroit’s bankruptcy trial, bringing his three-day testimonial to a close.

On Tuesday, Dillon defended his recommendation for Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, saying it was a “last-resort option.” But some of Detroit's creditors are arguing that the decision to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy was not exactly a last resort, but instead a quick decision that overlooked an opportunity to continue negotiations.

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Detroit bankruptcy
3:38 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Orr questioned on 'sacrosanct' comment in Day 6 of Detroit bankruptcy trial

Here's the comment Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr made to a public meeting on June 10, 2013. It's on loop, in case you miss it the first go 'round:

This statement was played for the courtroom by a lawyer representing the city's pension funds. He was trying to prove that Orr misled pensioners days before proposing cuts to pensions.

The Detroit News' Chad Livengood and Robert Snell report on the exchange that followed:

“Despite the implications, I wasn’t attempting to mislead anyone,” Orr testified Monday under questioning from city attorney Greg Shumaker.

Orr’s answer caused U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to interrupt with a follow-up question.

“Excuse me one second,” the judge said. “What would you say to that retiree now?”

“I would say his rights are in bankruptcy now,” Orr told the judge. “I would say his rights are subject to the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

“That’s a bit different than sacrosanct, isn’t it?” Rhodes replied.

Orr continued to deny allegations that there was no attempt to negotiate with creditors "in good faith" prior to the city's bankruptcy filing. It's a pivotal point lawyers for the city's creditors are trying to prove. If they can do it, the city might not be eligible to reorganize under the protection of federal bankruptcy laws.

Orr ended his testimony this morning around 11 a.m.

Next to the witness stand, Snyder aide Richard Baird and former state treasurer Andy Dillon.

Law
3:49 pm
Sat November 2, 2013

Detroit, bankruptcy creditors talking in private

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - While a judge determines the future of Detroit's bankruptcy case, key people are meeting behind the scenes to try to reach deals.

Private mediation sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, at the same time the city tries to convince a judge that Detroit is eligible to fix its debts in bankruptcy court. The trial in front of Judge Steven Rhodes started on Oct. 23.

Politics & Government
9:14 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Highlights from Governor Snyder's, Kevyn Orr's testimony in Detroit bankruptcy trial

LiveStream

Both Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Governor Snyder testified this week in the trial that will decide whether Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

Facing hours of pointed questions from lawyers for city unions, retirees, and pension funds, both Snyder and Orr said that bankruptcy wasn’t a foregone conclusion for Detroit.

But both also insisted the city was clearly insolvent, creditor talks had broken down into multiple lawsuits, and Orr had to move quickly.

“It was somewhat shocking how dire it was,” Orr testified.

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Politics & Government
8:41 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Detroit City Council has no alternative to $350M loan plan to pay off city's debt

Downtown Detroit (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit City Council has decided not to push an alternative to a $350 million loan designed to help the city pay off some of its massive pension debt.

Council members on Friday discussed the competing plan to the post-bankruptcy petition financial proposal engineered by state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

About $230 million from Barclays would be used to fully pay off a complicated pension debt deal involving two major creditors. The rest would be used to improve basic city services.

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Law
8:00 am
Wed October 23, 2013

Is Detroit eligible for bankruptcy? Crucial trial starts today

A trial to determine Detroit’s fate in municipal bankruptcy starts Wednesday.

Judge Steven Rhodes will hear arguments from city lawyers about why Detroit qualifies for Chapter 9 protection.

University of Michigan law professor and bankruptcy expert John Pottow says some city creditors will argue that Detroit’s bankruptcy filing was pre-determined--and there was no good-faith bargaining process, as the federal bankruptcy code requires.

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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.

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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.

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Stateside
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
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.

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