DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr says he “was being dumb” when he criticized Detroiters for being “dumb” and “lazy” as the city sank fiscally.
Orr released a statement apologizing to Detroit residents for comments published earlier this month in the Wall Street Journal.
Orr said then that, “For a long time the city was dumb, lazy, happy and rich … Detroit has been the center of more change in the 20th century than I dare say virtually any other city, but that wealth allowed us to have a covenant [that held] if you had an eighth grade education, you’ll get 30 years of a good job and a pension and great health care, but you don’t have to worry about what’s going to come.”
On Wednesday, he backtracked.
“I would say — very clearly to the people of Detroit — I apologize,” Orr said. “That was a slip of the tongue. I was being dumb. I’ve since come to realize it’s a distraction.”
This latest comes after, last week, the emergency manager’s spokesman Bill Nowling told reporters he believed Orr’s cutting assessment was aimed at Detroit’s politicians — not its citizenry at large.
Orr was hired in March to fix Detroit’s finances. In filing for Chapter 9 protection last month, he said Detroit is insolvent, unable to pay off a long-term debt estimated to top $18 billion.
Orr asked city creditors and Detroit’s two pension funds to accept pennies on the dollar in money owed them.
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