DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is now ordering the city’s top lawyer to drop a legal challenge over the city’s consent agreement with the state.
In a letter obtained, Bing says Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon failed to follow Detroit’s charter when filing the civil suit.
Bing said the city charter authorizes such a suit at the mayor’s direction.
“By taking this action you have exceeded your authority under the Charter and have put the City’s financial stability at substantial risk of serious financial consequences,” Bing said in the letter. “Since Charter Sec. 7.5-209 reaffirms your professional responsibility as attorney for the City, I remind you that you remain subject to the duty to minimize any adverse impacts on the City when you act.”
– VIEW A COPY OF THE LETTER (.pdf format) –
Governor Rick Snyder, earlier Tuesday, urged city leaders must act fast to resolve the issue, saying he’s disappointed that a dialogue Monday between Detroit City Council and Mayor Dave Bing failed to get the job done.
“We needed to refinance some debt for the city … And the refinancing of the debt isn’t possible with this lawsuit in many respects — because it would create an environment where people wouldn’t wanna lend to the city,” said Snyder. “So, that creates a whole other cascading set of issues, and that’s why we’re encouraging the city to work through it and deal with this lawsuit.”
Bing has been working to convince City Council to get behind efforts to push for the dismissal of the lawsuit, filed by the city’s corporation counsel, which challenges the agreement between Detroit and the state to handle the city’s finances.
The mayor has said the city will go broke by Friday if the lawsuit is not dropped because the state is threatening to withhold $80 million in revenue sharing.
Some on the council say the state’s position on the matter amounts to “extortion.” Others are calling Snyder a bully.
The governor’s response?
“The mayor and the city council and the corporate council are not on the same page, and they need to get on the same page and resolve this issue,” Snyder said. “I get called a lot of names for a lot of different reasons … As a practical matter, I believe that we’re being a good partner in trying to work through this.”
Snyder said he’s not getting into name-calling or finger-pointing — he just wants positive movement.
Council President Charles Pugh said he has questions for the governor. “Of course the governor’s going to say publicly say he’s gonna stick to his guns. But the question is, will he actually let the city run out of cash? Another question is, why would he do that? What point would the governor be trying to make by letting the city run out of cash?”
Before the consent agreement, Detroit was on course to be more than $400 million in debt, and was reportedly on the brink of bankruptcy.
A court heating on the lawsuit is scheduled for Wednesday.
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