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Could Snyder Go To Jail For Approving Detroit Bankruptcy Filing?

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

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DETROIT (WWJ) A show cause hearing had been delayed regarding Detroit’s bankruptcy after a judge ruled that the filing was illegal.

WWJ legal analyst Charlie Langton says, at this hearing, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina  could hold Gov. Rick Snyder in contempt of court for violating her order to withdraw the bankruptcy.

Penalties for contempt could include ordering the governor to jail or fines, Langton said.

Speaking live on WWJ Monday morning, Snyder said, although Langton’s assessment of the situation is correct, he can’t comment.

“… As you know I really shouldn’t comment on the lawsuit, since I’m a party to it,” Snyder said. “That’s where I have good counsel and I know they’re doing outstanding work, and we’ll work through this.

“The real issue is Detroit had $18 billion in debt and we need better services for the citizens of Detroit — they deserve it. The services here are unacceptable,” Snyder said.

The hearing, which was initially set for 9 a.m. Monday, was rescheduled for next Monday.

Aquilina on Friday ruled Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing on Thursday was illegal, saying union officials who represent pensioners were improperly “blindsided” by the filing. The bankruptcy case was filed by emergency manager Kevyn Orr and approved by Snyder.

Langton broke it down like this: He said Aquilina ruled that the bankruptcy filing amounts to a state constitutional violation — but it’s not that simple.

“The problem here is that if she wants to enforce it, [Detroit Emergency Manager] Kevyn Orr is going to run back to federal court and get an order that will stay her decision,” Langton said. “So, this judge in Ingham County might very well believe that a bankruptcy violates the constitution — with regard to people’s pension rights —  but it’s not going to have any effect in the bankruptcy court.”

Orr was appointed by the state in March to make sense of Detroit’s finances following decades of mismanagement. Snyder said the bankruptcy was 60 years in the making.

Get complete coverage of Detroit’s bankruptcy HERE.

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