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Wayne County sells former steel plant to Moroun-owned company

The former McLouth Steel plant in Trenton in the early 1990s.
The former McLouth Steel plant in Trenton in the early 1990s.

Wayne County is selling the former McLouth Steel plant in Trenton to a company owned by Manuel "Mattie" Moroun.

Moroun is the owner of the Ambassador Bridge which connects Detroit to Windsor, Ontario.

The sale price for the tax-foreclosed property is $4 million. Crown Enterprises says it will tear down the current buildings and build an automotive center on the site. 
The deal was fiercely criticized by Steve Tobocman, a former state representative who lives near the bridge.

He says Moroun has a 20-plus year track record of false promises and letting his assets deteriorate. That includes doing nothing with Detroit's Michigan Central Train Station for nearly 30 years, and allowing "the most valuable bridge crossing in the world" to deteriorate.

"At what point do we begin to say, 'Maybe we're not dealing with a world class leader in transportation and logistics?'" says Tobocman.  He accuses Moroun's companies of making many false promises to protect profits.

The McLouth deal calls for the current structures to be torn down within two years, and investments of $20 million to be made within six years.

The contract allows the county to file for an injunction if the structures aren't torn down on time, and to fine the company $1 million if promised investments aren't made within the set time limit.


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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