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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging Detroit Consent Agreement

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DETROIT (WWJ) – A Wayne County judge has tossed out a lawsuit challenging the consent agreement between Detroit and state.

The suit,  filed by three city union leaders, claimed the agreement is illegal because the state owes money to Detroit.

On Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Amy Hathaway ruled Michigan is not in default to the city and, therefore, the consent agreement is legal.

At issue was language in Detroit’s charter that states that the city can’t enter into a contract with “one” in default of the city. But the judge said, “one,” in this case, refers to a person, not the state.

WWJ Newsradio 950’s Marie Osborne talked with attorney Herb Sanders, who represented the plaintiffs.

“I think that the default is clearly evident. We had affidavits supporting our position. They (the defendants) submitted not one affidavits suggesting that those bills were not old,” he said.

“Democracy, once again, has hung on the interpretative of one word,” Sanders added. “(We’re) disappointed. I believe that we clearly laid out the law. I think we clearly showed how ‘one’ is defined in the dictionary, how it’s defined in legal dictionaries.”

It’s not clear what, if any, impact Thursday’s ruling would have on the suit brought by city Corporate Council Krystal Crittendon, who called on the courts to void the consent agreement.  She can still appeal a Lansing judge’s ruling that said she could not make the challenge without approval from the mayor.

Before the consent agreement was reached, Detroit was on course to be more than $400 million in debt.

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