DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A plan to take Detroit out of bankruptcy won’t be ready this month, city Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said Tuesday.
Gov. Rock Snyder met with top lawmakers Tuesday in Lansing on a multi-hundred-million-dollar plan to protect pensioners and the holdings of the Detroit Institute of Arts as Detroit moves through bankruptcy proceedings.
Orr had promised a plan by January, but negotiations between Detroit and creditors have changed the timetable. Orr called the talks “robust” and said he hopes they wrap up by mid-February. Orr spoke Tuesday at an advisory board that is monitoring Detroit’s finances.
A federal bankruptcy judge last week rejected a $165 million settlement that would have released Detroit from an unfavorable deal with banks. Judge Steven Rhodes said it was too generous for banks.
Orr said he will decide soon whether to sue the banks as a way to reach a compromise. Orr’s team has suggested that the deal hatched years ago was illegal.
Snyder has proposed a $350 million, 20-year state commitment, matching pledges from foundations to fund Detroit’s pensions and prevent the sale of city-owned art.
“Obviously we’re interested in continuing discussions and dialogue and seeing if there might be a way to protect the retirees, while putting in place safeguards to make sure Detroit makes better financial decisions moving forward,” House Minority Leader Tim Greimel told the Detroit Free Press.
Greimel said an announcement might come this week from Snyder’s office about a deal covering the pensions and the art.
Judge Rhodes is holding a hearing Wednesday to hear from creditors who want a role in deciding what to do with the city’s valuable art collection. Creditors filed a request two months ago to have a say in the appraisal of art and any potential way to make money from it. But since then, a coalition of foundations has pledged to give more than $300 million to prevent any sale and shore up Detroit pensions.
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