Bridge Owner Matty Moroun Jailed For Contempt

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The 84-year-old owner of Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge will remain in jail, at least for a while. The State Court of Appeals has denied a request for the immediate release of  Manuel “Matty” Moroun and his top lieutenant Dan Stamper.

Wayne County Judge Prentis Edwards Thursday ordered the pair to jail for failing to meet court-ordered deadlines on a construction project.

Edwards said Moroun and Stamper will stay locked up until the work is done. It’s unclear how long that will be.

Detroit International Bridge Co. was declared in contempt of court in November for failing to finish work on a project linking the U.S.-Canada span with two Detroit interstates.

Lawyers for Moroun claim he’s really not the owner. They say a Moroun trust has a minority stake in a holding company that owns the bridge. But state officials say Moroun clearly is in charge.

WWJ Newsradio 950’s Florence Walton reported attorneys for Stamper and Moroun are feverishly trying to keep them from staying in jail for a long time

The lawyers, Thursday afternoon, called for an appeal of the order, saying Moroun and Stamper’s rights have been violated. They say their clients were never warned that they might be sent to jail.

Talk Radio 1270 morning show host and WWJ legal analyst Charlie Langton said the move by the judge is not unprecedented.  This is the same judge who jailed Stamper in 2010.

“Why? A year ago they did not follow the judge’s order,” said Langton. “It’s a simple order. Just complete the project, do what you are supposed to. Fix the gateway bridge, connect those freeways, and eliminate congestion in this neighborhood. But they didn’t do it.”

“All of the creative legal maneuvering is not going to prevent this judge from exercising this order. The judge has the discretion, under the contempt powers of the judge, and that includes jail, and the judge says enough is enough,” Langton said.

Bridge officials last summer told WWJ the Gateway Project would be completed in early 2012 only if M-DOT re-opened freeway ramps in the area. The judge had ordered that, regardless, work be was to be completed by now. (More on this here).

Thursday afternoon, the bridge company issued the following statement:

“Without a trial, without a jury, with no notice stating the reasons for them to appear, a judge viciously lashed out at Matty Moroun and Dan Stamper today and ordered a penalty outside the bounds of a civil case that was excessive, unwarranted and outrageous.”

“This is the same judge that refused repeated requests for site visits to actually see construction on the Gateway Project. This entire legal process has clearly become a personal vendetta by the judge against these individuals.”

Moroun’s son Matthew Moroun told WWJ his father was “blindsided” by the ruling. He said the judge should never have thrown an 84-year-old man in jail. (Listen to the interview, here).

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Judy

    Hurray! Let’s see how he gets out of this one, He has manipulated Detroit long enough with his money and connections.

  • Tim Upleger

    People with vast wealth are above the law. That’s what Oligarchy is all about for the one per-centers. This judge did the right thing, but he’s as good as toast. ‘Ol Matty will destroy him.

  • CharlesRudolph

    It is about time! This person has been hiding behind the city of Detroit for many a years. Stating that he is trying to help. Is this a joke? He uses his money to oppress and make like he is trying to help. Oppressing many persons all the time.. But he has finally gotten his just due. Praise God!

  • Matt Moroun: Jailed Father ‘Blindsided’ By Judge’s Order « CBS Detroit

    […] Related tags ambassador bridge, Dan Stamper, Gateway Project, interview, jail, Matthew Moroun, Matty Moroun, Prentis Edwards var addthis_product = 'wpp-261'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = {"templates":{"twitter":"{{title}} {{url}}"},"url_transforms":{"shorten":{"twitter":"bitly"}},"shorteners":{"bitly":{"login":"cbslocal","apiKey":"R_a42469be25a4cd114f9641fad362d038"}}};}DETROIT (WWJ) – The Ambassador Bridge owner’s son says the judge should never have thrown an 84-year-old man in jail. […]

  • Jim

    Put Ficano in the same cell with Manny! I’m just suggesting!

  • len

    If I were the Judge, I would have sentenced Moroun et al to community service and ordered him to CLEAN UP THE TRAIN STATION AND HAUL IT OFF ALL AT THEIR EXPENSE.

  • Dave

    Correct Judy. He has made many millions off the city and people of southest michigan. He doesn’t care about Detroit unless it benefits his pocket. He owns the train station that is rotting away which should have been converted into condos or a hotel. Detroit need its multi millionairs to reinvest rather than leech and hoard. I bet if this was New York, Trump would have done something with it.

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  • Bridge Over Troubled Waters

    Aggressor Capitalism makes a stand with the Constitution. I wonder if this Moron will get a penthouse cell?

    The top 0.1% live above the law. They can afford to. It takes courage not to be bought and Judge Prentis Edwards swung a Constitutional left and right for a knockout. But money buys good lawyers too. Now what?

  • marcus

    For all those who think that Matty sgould get out of jail We as a community would pray that you might take a drive through Delray to see for yourself the results of Matty’s delays and the devastation that has resulted from 17,000 additional trucks and cars a day driving through our community for six now going on seven years. The first two of which with I 75 closed dumped hundreds of thousands of vehicles onto our neighborhood streets.We have endured as our business district along Fort street has been destroyed. One third of our children have developed asthma. The lines of trucks driving past our homes, schools, stores and churches has been constant for six long years.We signed on to this project on the promise that our neighborhoods would be protected even improved and the opposite was always intended by the DIBC. Our homes, our neighborhoods and our quality of life have been diminished. Please consider all this as you weigh the contempt penalties, Every resident of Delray has suffered beyond measure and we feel this was done with the intent to drive us out of our homes and our community. We may not have a lot of money or much of a voice in government as our representatives have taken money by the millions to drown out the voices that cry from our neighborhoods. Yet these were still our homes, our dreams, our businesses, our families futures. We invested all we had and everything has been taken from us through the deceitful block busting business practices of this family, their billions of dollars and herds of lawyers. We have watched through the years as Matty, Nora and Mathew have cried through the media at how they are the victim, all the while victimizing every man woman and child in this community. Maybe through this lesson others would reconsider whether it is in their best interest to destroy a community for their self serving interests and force others to treat the people who are in the way of their development with consideration instead of contempt. I am not sure if anything can remove the despair from our community which has been sold out at almost all levels of government. Thank you Judge Edwards for your integrity it is sadly a rare quality in government. Thank you for taking the time to consider our plight your honor. We have placed our hopes in your office as most of our representatives don’t seem to understand that our lives should have more value than the money which lines their pockets from the family that has chosen to destroy us. The people of Delray

  • Gee

    If the state could build the ramp , foce Many to pay for it, keep him locked up until the work is completed, that would be justice.

  • wagnew

    People live in Delray?

  • Appeals Court Orders Release Of Jailed Bridge Execs « CBS Detroit

    […] Moroun and Stamper were sent to jail Thursday as punishment for their company being found in contempt of court. The dispute centers on a major construction project that is supposed to connect the international bridge to area interstates. […]

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