DeChiara: Did they get back to you?
DeChiara: To what extent would you consider, based on your experience, were there negotiations?
Nicholson: Two significant deficits precluding negotiations, access to information due to secrecy.
Judge Rhodes jumped in: please, just answer the question.
DeChiara: Were there negotiations over accrued pension benefits at the meeting?
Nicholson: As far as the UAW was concerned no. It would have been against the basic law, the Michigan Constitution.
DeChiara: To what extent were there negotiations open?
Nicholson starts to give another long winded answer. The Judge, un-amused, stepped in again:
Judge Rhodes: I want to tell you, sir, this question and the last few questions did not deal with the questions. Just answer the question.
Nicholson: [frustrated] ”=There were negotiations that we tried to initiate with the city through a class action. The first step is to ask the other side to participate. We asked it to be taken to Mr. Orr and never did they respond. Ever. That’s my answer.
Once again Judge Rhodes jumped in: You’re not answering the questions. Given your perception to what actually happened, to what extent was what happened in your opinion. You just have to tell me to the extent it was negotiations. If that’s your answer we’ll move on.
As court begins after a brief five minute break, Nicholson spoke with the judge.
Nicholson: I want to make the court aware I am trying to stay focused. My brother is in the hospital with end stage liver cancer. I want to be with him and want to keep my focus. The second thing I want you to know, I should have responded on the July 11th meeting. After I asked Mr. Miller to go back to Mr. Orr and tell him the UAW was willing to engage in a class action process. The city replied that there was not enough time. I said it had been done quickly elsewhere. I received no other communication
DeChiara: “Do you know the Flowers case?
Nicholson: Yes [and he goes on to say] 1.) I conceived of the idea behind the litigation. 2.) The UAW funds those attorneys. 3.) We consult with those attorneys.
DeChiara: Were you aware they filed for a preliminary injunction. It was scheduled by the Ingham Co. Circuit court on July 22
Nicholson: On July 18th we worked on case. Signed the affidavit known as exhibit 624 on that day. We received a call, working on reply had to be filed that day, driven up to Lansing and we got a call that day to that effect that they were going to court to get an exparte tro to prevent a ch. 9 filing.” “ We decided to finish the brief in the car and that’s what we did. Should the state be notified of the T.R.O. [temporary restraining order] I was sitting in the back seat typing on my laptop. Bill asked me do you think we should notify the state. I took it as a practical ethics question. I think we have to do that, it’s not in our interest. And he proceeded to call the AG’s office. We didn’t know ahead of time knowing what would happen in the court. I heard him talking to him in the car on two cars. I also know because I talked to the lawyer for the AG Mr. Carsono. He told me how much he appreciated his ethical behavior.[This chain of events led to the city filing its bankruptcy a day early, on July 18th instead of July 19th, 2013.]
Geoff Steward now rises to cross examine Mr. Nicholson
Nicholson continued his expansive answers and the judge once again asks him to just answer the question.
Stewart is asking Nicholson about previous “class action” cases, VEBA set ups that Nicholson was offering to the city, and he is now asking Nicholson whether he knows how long it takes to set up VEBA’s and Stewart kept citing at least one year to two years for varying VEBAs that Nicholson was unaware of time frames.
Then, Stewart put up a slide showing the city’s cash position and asked Nicholson to say what the city’s cash position was.