DETROIT (WWJ/AP) — It is expected to be a packed house at Detroit Federal court next week as dozens of people look to voice their opposition to the city’s “Plan of Adjustment” to exit bankruptcy.
The plan submitted by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr includes cuts to pensioners and creditors. Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Rhodes has scheduled hearings Tuesday to hear from objectors.
WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton said that speakers at the hearing will be given five minutes to state their case.
“What we’re seeing here is that the judge is being transparent,” Langton said. “The judge is allowing everybody who has an opinion in regard to Detroit’s bankruptcy to state the opinion in open court and subject themselves to cross-examination by this judge.”
The deadline passed on Friday for thousands of creditors to vote on Orr’s bankruptcy restructuring plan for the city. Ballots had to be received no later than 5 p.m. by a consulting company in California to be counted in the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Langton added that while 600 people have filed objections, only a percentage of them will be allowed to speak in court.
“This judge wants everybody in Detroit that has an objection to the city’s plan to get out of bankruptcy come to court and prove the case,” Langton said. “The judge is giving them five minutes, but that’s okay — that’s enough time to state their objections.”
Judge Rhodes scheduled the hearing for objectors for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Langton said that Judge Rhodes is trying to be fair in hearing from all sides affected by the plan.
“The issue is, will it make a difference in the overall scope of things? This is a multi-billion dollar problem and probably one person’s objection may not sway,” Langton said. “But, this judge has allowed everyone to speak, and you know what, what that one person may say may have a factor in how the judge will rule.”
Dorothy Baker of St. Clair Shores — a retiree after 38 years with the Detroit Public Library– submitted a letter detailing her opposition. She’ is among the group of people who have been invited to speak at the hearing, but said she isn’t going.
“I just don’t feel like it will do any good,” Baker said. “I think their mind is already made up, I think the judge’s mind is already made up. I don’t want to sit all day in court and pay $20 for parking while I’m there.”
Baker actually voted for the Plan of Adjustment, but said that she wishes she could change her vote after hearing this week that some city of Detroit workers received raises.
“The city hasn’t even — from what I can tell or what I’ve heard — hasn’t even done any sale of assets, which is normally what they do in a bankruptcy,” Baker said. “I’m not talking about only the DIA, I’m talking about the parks, the golf courses, the parking structures and parking lots. You can put the DIA in there, too.”
Creditors voted on proposals to resolve the debt they are owed. The bankruptcy court has set July 21 as the date for it to receive the voting results.