DETROIT (WWJ) – A federal judge will hold a hearing Monday to consider a lawsuit that seeks to block taxpayer funds from paying for the Little Caesars Arena and a new Detroit Pistons headquarters.

The argument at the center of the lawsuit, says WWJ legal analyst Charlie Langton, is that tax incentives for the arena were given without a vote from taxpayers. Activists saying the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) as well as the Detroit Brownfield Development Authority improperly received money for the development of the arena.

The lawsuit was filed by government transparency advocate Robert Davis and City Clerk candidate D. Etta Wilcoxon.

The city of Detroit opposes the lawsuit on the grounds that $250 million in outstanding bonds could be subject to default if the judge rules against them.

The lawsuit, filed by government transparency advocate Robert Davis and City Clerk candidate D. Etta Wilcoxon, seeks to shut down the funding process and block the use of taxpayer funds for the arena.

In 2013, Olympia Development of Michigan, an Ilitch-owned company, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Downtown Development Authority and Wayne County that provides the framework for the financing of what’s being called the “Catalyst Development Project.”

The MSF approved the Catalyst Development Project for the Detroit Downtown Development Authority and Olympia Development of Michigan, LLC, and an inducement resolution for issuance of $450 million in private bonds to finance construction.

The NBA could prevent the Pistons from moving in until all potential lawsuits are settled.

A decision on the case could be as soon as today.


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