Kevyn Orr

Politics & Government
1:17 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager leading bus tour of city's dire conditions

Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr
mich.gov Michigan Government

Detroit’s answer to the famous bus tours of New York City is emerging this week.

Well, kind of.

On Wednesday, Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr will lead creditors on a guided bus tour through the city. But the tour won’t be highlighting the city’s landmarks. Instead, the creditors will be checking out dire conditions in some of Detroit’s neighborhoods.

From the Associated Press:

Read more
Politics & Government
11:31 am
Sat July 6, 2013

Detroit files lawsuit against one of its insurers

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit has filed a lawsuit against an insurance company the city says is improperly withholding $11 million a month in casino payments and taxes.

According to The Detroit News, the suit against Syncora Guarantee Inc. was filed on Friday.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr says the casino revenue Syncora is holding up each month is enough to pay Detroit firefighters for two months.

A representative for Syncora declined to comment when contacted by the Detroit Free Press.

Read more
Opinion
11:45 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Halfway through 2013, a new man in charge of Detroit, and a weakened governor

Lessenberry commentary for 6/29/2013

Well, we’ve just about made it halfway through the year.  In fact, for most businesses and most states, Monday is the start of a new fiscal year. Michigan, however, starts its fiscal year October 1.

Why?  Well, it has to do with an accounting trick to deal with a fiscal crisis back in the nineteen seventies. Yes, the more things change, the more some things stay the same.

But this has been a pretty momentous six months. On New Year’s Day, elected officials were still fully in charge in Detroit.  Today, the city is being run by an emergency manager. Six months ago, while everybody knew Detroit finances were bad, nobody dreamed the total debt might be near twenty billion dollars.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:23 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Orr puts Detroit unions on notice

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has reminded two of the city’s biggest unions that their contracts are expiring soon.

In letters sent this week, Orr emphasized that he’s not required to conduct collective bargaining sessions.

Under the state’s emergency manager law, he could impose new terms on the unions.

Mark Young is President of the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, which along with AFSCME Council 25 is one of the affected unions.

He says the officers should get a new collective bargaining agreement.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:59 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Pugh's whereabouts unknown, allegations of inappropriate relationship with 17-year old boy

City of Detroit

This past Tuesday, Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh was absent for his second straight week of council sessions. His whereabouts for the last few days have been unknown and his public Facebook and Twitter pages were taken down last week.

Recently, Pugh is facing allegations that he had an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year old male student he mentored.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:52 am
Wed June 26, 2013

In this morning's news: Voting rights decision, Orr denies medical leave, Buena Vista layoffs

Morning News Roundup, Wednesday, June 26, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Michigan doesn't need to clear new election laws with the federal government

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down a key part of a voting rights law means the state of Michigan will no longer have to clear new election laws with the federal government," Rick Pluta reports.

Two counties, Buena Vista in Saginaw County and Clyde in Allegan county, were covered by the federal Voting Rights Act after failing to provide adequate help to Spanish-speaking voters in the 1970s.

Kevyn Orr denies medical leave for City Council president

Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr has denied City Council President Charles Pugh's request for medical leave. Pugh has been absent from Council meetings for a few days, and he has not returned phone calls. Orr says Pugh must report to work by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, or be stripped of his salary and responsibilities.

Buena Vista School District lays off most teachers and staff

The Board of Education for the Buena Vista School District near Saginaw approved layoffs for nearly all of its teachers and staff on Tuesday.

"School officials the district will have about $2,000 as of July 5. Board President Randy L. Jackson says the district still is making plans for fall classes. The board approved an application to request a $2.5 million loan from the state to help keep running," according to the Associated Press.

Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Commentary: The week that was

Lessenberry commentary for 6/22/2013

 When this week began, it looked as if the legislature and governor had finally found a compromise formula that would allow Medicaid to be expanded to nearly half a million poor Michiganders. It also looked as if the race for the next mayor of Detroit would come down to a contest between Mike Duggan, a man of many past political jobs, and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

But the week ended with the Medicaid compromise falling apart; Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr taking steps that probably moved the city closer to a bankruptcy filing, and with  Duggan tossed off the ballot and out of the mayor’s race. On the plus side for Detroit, the Ilitch family announced that a long-rumored six hundred and fifty million dollar new hockey arena would be built on the edge of downtown.

Read more
2:19 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager takes on pension funds

Lead in text: 
Detroit's pension boards have been under investigation by the SEC and federal prosecutors. Now Kevyn Orr is ordering his own investigation.
In 2009, a Detroit Free Press investigation of Detroit's two public pensions found a history of failed investments, lavish worldwide travels by the trustees who ran the funds, and few ethics rules. The newspaper reported in 2011 that the funds had lost $470 million in risky investments since 2008.
Politics & Government
4:11 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager orders probe of city pension funds

City of Detroit (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is turning his focus to the city’s pension system.

This morning, Orr directed Detroit’s Inspector General and Auditor General to begin an investigation into the city’s pension funds.

The order specifically directs investigators to look for evidence of “possible waste, abuse, fraud and corruption”.

A spokesman says Detroit’s emergency manager has been looking into the city’s pension system, and what’s been found so far suggests further investigation is needed.

The probe is expected to take 60 days.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:49 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Commentary: Are Pensions Sacred?

Lessenberry commentary for 6/19/2013

We didn’t have an early spring this year, but it looks like an early summer. I say that because while it is still technically spring, the authorities are already engaged in what has been a late summer Michigan ritual, digging up a field to look for Jimmy Hoffa.

Usually, it strikes me as strange that this case still gets so much attention, but this year we’ve been so overwhelmed with news from Detroit that we probably need a little escape.

Read more
Politics & Government
9:22 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Commentary: Remember Virg Bernero?

Lessenberry commentary for 6/18/2013

Everyone knows, of course, that Rick Snyder was elected governor three years ago. And by now it is safe to say that everyone has an opinion about him. Some think he is saving the state.

Others are vowing to do everything they can to prevent him from winning a second term. But stop for a minute.

Do you remember who Snyder defeated to be elected governor in the first place? Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, the Democratic nominee in what was an impossible year for his party.

Read more
Politics & Government
7:41 am
Tue June 18, 2013

In this morning's news: Palisades re-opens, Detroit's water dept., MI attorney general election

Morning News Roundup for Tuesday, June 18, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Palisades returns to service

The Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in southwestern Michigan re-opened yesterday after finishing repairs to a tank that leaked slightly radioactive water into Lake Michigan. The plant has had nine shutdowns since September 2011; company spokeswoman Lindsay Rose says the tank has been redesigned to guard against future leaks. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says there was no public health risk from the radioactive release.

Detroit's water department faces restructuring

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has big plans to restructure the city’s water department. It would largely keep the same governing structure, with representatives from Detroit and surrounding counties, but the authority would also pay Detroit to lease the department’s assets.

“Orr’s plan suggests that spinning the water department off to an authority would allow it refinance its debt, and borrow more readily for capital improvements,” Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reports.

MSU law professor running for Michigan attorney general

Michigan State University law professor, Mark Totten, announced yesterday that he is running for Michigan attorney general in 2014. Totten, a Democrat, used to be a federal prosecutor. Democrats will choose their attorney general candidate at a nominating convention next year; no other Democratic candidates have entered the race yet. Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette is expected to seek re-election.

Politics & Government
6:50 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

There's some pushback against Kevyn Orr's plan for Detroit's water department

Credit Kate Boicourt / IAN

Detroit’s emergency manager has a plan for the city’s water department—but not everybody likes it.

Kevyn Orr proposes leasing the system to a “Metropolitan Area Water and Sewer Authority” as it part of a larger restructuring of city operations.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:43 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Commentary: After the Fall

Lessenberry commentary for 6/17/2013

It’s hard to be shocked by anything relating to Detroit’s financial crisis. But frankly, I was, when I read the details of the report Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr gave to the city’s creditors.

For months, we’d been hearing that the city had as much as $14 billion in long-term debt. The real figure is more like twenty billion. No other city in the country pays even twenty percent of its revenue for what they call legacy costs -- debt service and pensions. Detroit pays more than forty percent.

Read more
Law
4:06 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Michigan AG says state law protects DIA assets from bankruptcy sale

The Detroit Institute of Arts
Maia C/Flickr

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has released a legal opinion that says the collection held by the Detroit Institute of Arts cannot be sold if the city goes into bankruptcy.

The opinion was issued in response to a request by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.

The opinion says the assets owned by the Detroit Institute of Art are held in a public trust for the people of Michigan, and cannot be used to pay off the city's debts. Schuette says in the opinion, "In Michigan, we not only appreciate our cultural treasures, we guard them zealously."

Detroit has $15.6 billion dollars in long-term liabilities, and emergency manager Kevyn Orr will need to take some drastic measures to pay those debts.

Kevyn Orr -- who is a bankruptcy attorney and turnaround expert -- is in the middle of negotiating a debt reduction plan with the city's creditors. He has said there are no guarantees the DIA's assets would be off the table in the event of a bankruptcy.

Politics & Government
3:19 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Orr's plan to remake Detroit

The city of Detroit.

When Kevyn Orr was announced as Detroit's emergency manager, he said he took the job because of the challenge - the "Olympics of restructuring" he called it.

Today, Orr unveiled his plan for that restructuring at a two hour meeting with people representing banks, insurers, pension funds, unions, and other companies holding Detroit's debt.

You can read his 128 page "Proposal for Creditors" here.

Read more
Politics & Government
12:45 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Orr's restructuring plan released, historic meeting with Detroit's creditors is underway

Orr arriving this morning at the meeting.
Matt Helms Twitter

Update 12:45

The meeting has ended. We'll have updates later today on Orr's plan and reaction to it from other stakeholders.

The Detroit Free Press' Matt Helms tweeted a shot of Orr talking to the media after the meeting:

Read more
Politics & Government
12:06 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager launches key talks with creditors

Kevyn Orr, Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager.
State of Michigan Michigan.gov

Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr sits down with the city’s major creditors Friday.

The meeting sets up negotiations that could help Detroit avoid filing for bankruptcy—or lay the groundwork for it.

Orr will gather all the city’s big creditors—unions, retirees, and banks—to pitch his plan.

They’ll all be asked to take some major losses to help Detroit shed some of its crippling debt load, estimated at a least $15 billion.

Read more
Weekly Political Roundup
5:59 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Weekly Political Roundup: Medicaid expansion bill, and conflicts in Detroit

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It’s Thursday, the day we talk Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service. On tap today, the latest happenings around the Medicaid expansion bill; developments in Detroit about whether the selection of the city's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, was in conflict with the Opening Meetings Act; and possible bankruptcy proceedings in the city. 
Read more
Stateside
5:20 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Detroit's 'Day of Reckoning' is at hand

Detroit skyline seen from Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River.
Bernt Rostad creative commons

An interview with Daniel Howes.

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time to check-in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

The theme for today's conversation seems to be: the Day of Reckoning is at hand.

Tomorrow, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is going make a pitch to 150 representatives and creditors to try to win concessions from them. The pitch could very well be the precursor to the city filing Chapter Nine bankruptcy.

Daniel Howes joined us to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Pages