TROY (WWJ/AP) – The state-appointed emergency manager who helped take Detroit into bankruptcy said Tuesday that it’s time to bring this part of the city’s financial history to a close.
Speaking at an event Tuesday in Troy, Kevyn Orr said he’d like to see the city officially out of Chapter 9 bankruptcy by Christmas.
“As a practical matter, (the) transition has occurred,” Orr told WWJ’s Charlie Langton. “Mayor Duggan, Council President Jones and her colleagues are running the city.”
When will he resign?
“Hopefully in the next week or two,” Orr said.
When it comes to bankruptcy, Orr likened it to a roach motel, saying it’s easy to get in and hard to get out.
Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Orr as Detroit’s emergency manager in March 2013. Four months later, they decided that bankruptcy was the best solution to get rid of billions of dollars of debt. Last month, a judge approved the city’s plan to get out of bankruptcy.
“Bankruptcy is a slip-and-fall practice; you slip and fall into it,” Kevyn Orr said. “From day one, we had to think `how are we going to get out of here?”‘
Orr was the keynote speaker at the Oakland County Business Roundtable, an annual gathering of business, community and education leaders. He commended Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson for working toward a deal with Detroit and others on the region’s water system.
Orr reiterated that the financial numbers made Detroit’s bankruptcy necessary. The goal, he said, is to move forward as a sustainable city that’s an attractive place to live.
Orr said a review of consulting fees, which include attorney fees, is standard procedure in bankruptcy. But does Orr think his former law firm Jones Day charged the city too much?
“If I didn’t have Jones Day I might have had to hire six to eight additional firms,” said Orr. “Structured finance, municipal finance, health care, labor, litigation, restructuring — all of those were subjects in this bankruptcy that I would’ve had to have expertise.”
“Imagine sitting six different firms around the table to negotiate a document and everybody wanting to have their input, and how much more that would’ve cost,” he said.
Orr noted some public opposition to the bankruptcy, but said people had to look beyond their emotions.
“At some point, people had buy-in and realized we were sincere,” he said.
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