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Was Detroit’s Top Attorney Set Up To Go Rogue?

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Detroit City Council (WWJ Photo/Stephanie Davis, File)

Detroit City Council (WWJ Photo/Stephanie Davis, File)

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DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) Did Detroit’s top city attorney Krystal Crittendon really act alone when she filed a seemingly rogue lawsuit designed to halt the city’s financial agreement with the state?

Mayor Pro Tem Gary Brown doesn’t think so.

For the first time, Brown said Friday on Charlie Langton’s Talk Radio 1270 show that Crittendon potentially believed she had council support — and maybe even the mayor’s — when she filed suit to stop the consent agreement. Council and the mayor had already approved it.

“There are some people on City Council, some of my colleagues, who are trying to make this a referendum against Public Act 4,” Brown said. “In all honesty, you know, Krystal Crittendon was pretty much set up. She was told by some council people she had their support to do this. And I think some might argue she thought she had the mayor’s support, at some point. If she had the support to do it, is it really fair to terminate somebody for doing what you asked them to do?”

Was she set up? Langton asked

“We certainly had the ability to stop it, we could’ve stopped her from doing it. We could’ve said ‘no don’t do it,’ Brown said. “I just don’t believe she would have done it if she didn’t think she had support from the administration as well as the City Council. Some of the members who voted against Public Act 4 supported her doing this action. As a body, we could have stopped it. We should have stopped her, right, before it ever got to court, and we didn’t.”

Like I said, I think there’s more to this whole story than has been told.

Bing has called for Crittendon to resign, she refused, and he needs the support of six council members to force her to resign.

A meeting to discuss Crittendon’s fate ended Friday afternoon without a decision, after about 30 minutes, when Mayor Dave Bing left to participate in a conference call.

Bing told reporters he was denied a chance to explain his case to the council.

He said he’ll no longer rely on the head of the city’s law department and will hire an outside attorney for legal advice.

Earlier, Brown said he was more than happy to hear what the mayor had to say, but he remained undecided on the issue.

“I also want to hear Krystal Crittendon’s side of the story . Is she or is she not going to appeal the judge’s decision? … We do act as a body through resolution. If she did act on her own, that is going to influence my decision.”

Since Crittendon’s suit was filed, and then tossed out by a judge, the city’s bond rating has gone down, Brown added. “This is no time for the mayor and council to be pitted against each other,” he said. “We need to be of one accord… We’ve got to get this settled and get this settled quickly.”

At stake is the smooth execution of the consent agreement between Detroit and the state created to cut the city’s $400 million debt and allow it to keep functioning.

Crittendon’s lawsuit sought to stop the agreement, with an objection based on a city charter provision that says the city can’t execute an agreement with anyone who owes Detroit money. Some believe the state owes the city up to $200 million over an agreement to lower taxes and get more in state shared revenue that was approved when former Gov. John Engler was in office.

“We’ve got to get this matter settled so we can move on,” Brown said. ‘We still have to fix the problems of the city of Detroit and you can’t let any one person in city government have this kind of effect.”

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