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Day 3 in the Detroit bankruptcy case could bring Orr and police chief to the stand

Gerri Trager

Update 4:25 p.m.

Emergency manager Kevyn Orr has taken the stand in Detroit bankruptcy eligibility trial, for what's likely to be a brief bit of testimony before court breaks for the weekend.

The court confirmed that Governor Snyder will take the stand at 1 p.m. on Monday, regardless of whether Orr is finished testifying.

Orr follows Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who testified about the poor state of police service in Detroit when he took over the job in July 2013.

He called Detroit "the most violent city I've ever worked in" (he's also worked for police departments in Los Angeles and Cincinnati).

He said the city needs to take "bold action" to rectify its fiscal problems, but acknowledged he was "concerned" about "hiring and retention issues" if Detroit is allowed to slash pension benefits in bankruptcy.

1:11 p.m.

At issue is whether the state (mostly Gov. Rick Snyder) and city? leaders (mostly Kevyn Orr) truly negotiated "in good faith" with Detroit's creditors.

Those who stand to lose a lot (city union workers and retired pensioners, among many others) are arguing that bankruptcy was the goal all along - that there was no "good faith" bargaining going on.

We're in Day 3 of hearings in front of the man who will ultimately decide whether Detroit will become the largest city in U.S. history to go bankrupt.

We're not expected to get a ruling from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes until mid-November.

This morning there was testimony from Kenneth Buckfire, an investment banker who worked with the city of Detroit. Buckfire was questioned about the timing of his negotiations with Gov. Snyder and the city over the city's insolvency.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek live-tweeted the event:

Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, might testify today along with the police chief that Orr hired, James Craig. Gov. Snyder could testify Monday.

In the meantime, the city is struggling to pay for services today.

Daniel Howes over at the Detroit News writes about testimony given yesterday. Howes says the financial deal to keep the city afloat is complicated:

But the package, not easy to secure for the largest city in American history to file Chapter 9, is vital to operating the city during bankruptcy and making progress on Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s goal to improve services for long-suffering residents.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek will have more for us later today. In the meantime, follow her tweets here.

*Correction - in an earlier post we had James Bond in mind when we referred to Detroit's police chief as "Daniel Craig." It's been corrected above.


Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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