Reactions from leaders on Detroit's Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing

Detroit becomes largest city in US history to file for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy


DETROIT – Below are statements released by various leaders in reaction to Detroit's Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing. 

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing

"Today's bankruptcy filing is an unfortunate event in our City's history. While it has never been my desire that the City file for bankruptcy, I understand why Kevyn found it necessary to do so. I said when I entered office four years ago that our City was in a financial crisis. I also said we cannot simply cut our way out of this situation. This action will hopefully be the foundation for the fiscal turn-around of our City. Our citizens have suffered long enough and deserve better. I want to say to the people of Detroit that although we are moving into uncharted waters, Detroit has a history of fighting back during tough times. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a better path forward for our City and our people."

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

"Detroit is more than a part of the state I represent in Washington. It is my lifelong home. And so today's news that the city has filed for bankruptcy protection saddens me, however necessary it may have been. But what stands out about Detroit through the centuries is its grit and resilience. I know firsthand, because I live in Detroit, that our city is on the rebound in some key ways, and I know deep in my heart that the people of Detroit will face this latest challenge with the same determination that we have always shown."

Rep. Candice Miller

"Detroit has been kicking the can of their fiscal problems down the road for decades and has been hurt desperately by fiscal mismanagement and public corruption. It is now clear that the City has come to the end of the road making the bankruptcy filing the only path forward. I applaud the Governor for his courage to appoint the Emergency Financial Manager and Kevyn Orr for his steadfast efforts to find equitable settlements with the City's creditors. If the work Kevyn Orr did in helping Chrysler through bankruptcy is any guide then the citizens of Detroit can expect that a stronger Detroit will come out on the other side."

Detroit Institute of Arts

Like so many with deep roots in this city, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is disappointed that the Emergency Manager determined it was necessary to file for bankruptcy. As a municipal bankruptcy of this size is unprecedented, the DIA will continue to carefully monitor the situation, fully confident that the emergency manager, the governor and the courts will act in the best interest of the City, the public and the museum. We remain committed to our position that the Detroit Institute of Arts and the City of Detroit hold the DIA's collection in trust for the public and we stand by our charge to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of all Michigan residents.   

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson

"This bankruptcy is unfortunate but was predictable. The hole was too deep, and now a lot of good people who were not involved with the bad decisions will now have to pay the price."

Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah

"Bankruptcy is the bold step needed to finally address Detroit's financial problems in a meaningful and sustainable way. While nobody welcomes the concept of bankruptcy, it is necessary to solve the long-term structural financial challenges of this historic city. This decision puts the city on a path to achieve its most essential function – providing Detroiters the services they deserve – and sets the stage for a growing, vibrant Detroit. The private sector is thriving and businesses continue to invest in Detroit. Addressing Detroit's financial instability is the final barrier to robust growth."

Detroit Mayoral Candidate Benny Napoleon

The city of Detroit has clearly entered unchartered territory.

Tomorrow, we expect Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to announce that he will be leading our city into bankruptcy. And just yesterday, we learned that Mike Duggan was a part of the planning that cleared the path for this to happen.

Emails made available to us only through a lawsuit filed by a community activist has proven that, as early as February – prior to Orr's appointment – Mike Duggan has been leading Governor Rick Snyder and Treasurer Andy Dillion's efforts behind the scenes to bring an emergency manager to Detroit, whose ultimate task was to lead our city into bankruptcy.

One of the Governor's top aides wrote this email to Andy Dillion: "I would ask for your forbearance for a bit longer while the financial review team completes its work and engages with Mike (Duggan)."

Throughout this campaign, I have always refrained from weighing in on issues related to my opponents; however, it is very troubling to learn that Mr. Mike Duggan has played such a direct role in coordinating the appointment of an emergency manager (EM) in Detroit, while convincing Detroiters that he, too was against an emergency manager and bankruptcy.

With passion, Mr. Duggan made his case of how he fought the appointment of an EM, and how he would get rid of an emergency manager if elected, while quietly advising the Governor on who Detroit's EM should or shouldn't be -- and when an EM should be appointed. Even today, despite the proof that he was a major player with Governor Snyder, he refuses to tell the truth about it and maintains that he was fighting an EM.

As Wayne County Sheriff, President Obama's local coordinator and a lifelong Detroiter, Governor Snyder and Andy Dillon have never consulted me about an EM. And to my knowledge, neither has any other mayoral candidate. This is the most troubling of all. Mr. Duggan says it is because he is the turnaround expert. I know that because it was the path of least resistance.

If it was the intent of the Governor to gain constructive input from Detroiters on the best path forward, I find it troubling that conversations have been limited to the one candidate who only became a part of our community last year. Such maneuvering damages the trust of Detroiters who struggle with the belief that outside influences would rather exclude them from any dialogue on how we transform our city than work collectively.

Detroiters need a mayor who they trust will say what he means, and means what he says.

As Mayor, tough choices must be made in transforming our city. You can be assured that I will work with you, not above you. And I will always tell you the truth.

Detroit Mayoral Candidate Mike Duggan

What does it mean to run for Mayor, when you know your city will be in bankruptcy at the time you take office?

It wasn't like we couldn't see this coming. I lobbied the Snyder administration relentlessly against the appointment of an EM, as the recent e-mails showed. I really believed a strong Mayor leading Detroit's turnaround without bankruptcy would have been far better than an EM using Chapter 9.

But right or wrong, Detroit is now in bankruptcy, a process that could take years. The next Mayor must work hard to encourage all parties involved to resolve their differences quickly.

The key to this is the court's final adoption of the "Plan of Adjustment". What happens to the Water Department? Do retirees lose their pensions? Will the DIA art be sold? What about the zoo? Belle Isle? Rec centers? Parks? All of these issues and many more will be determined by the plan. That adopted plan is likely to define Detroit for the next generation.

We need a Mayor who has the management and financial expertise to be deeply involved in the bankruptcy process, to advocate for the long-term interests of City residents. That Mayor needs to actively engage with the EM to push for a plan that protects Detroit's assets, but also leaves us in a position to enhance police, fire, and other city services, that gets the streetlights on, and deals with the abandoned houses.

Other candidates for Mayor have recently criticized me, loudly declaring their intention not to engage with the EM or the Governor. I see that as a terrible mistake.

Over the next year or two, Detroit's future is going to be written in the final Plan of Adjustment. I may not agree with the Governor or EM, but I will be a Mayor who will strongly engage with them to make sure that final plan protects our assets and lays the course to begin rebuilding Detroit into a growing and vibrant community.

At this point, the choice in this election couldn't be more clear.