Attorney: Detroit hopes to be out of bankruptcy by year's end

Judge will set stage for fast-track proceeding in Detroit Chapter 9 filing


DETROIT – Detroit says it wants to submit a plan to emerge from bankruptcy by year's end, an aggressive timeframe two months earlier than a judge has proposed.

Attorney David Heiman told a judge Friday that "time is our enemy" and Detroit's distressed finances "are not going to change."

Complete coverage: Detroit Bankruptcy

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes still has to determine whether Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy. An Oct. 3 hearing is set for that. But he had proposed that the city file a reorganization plan on March 1, 2014.

Heiman said the city hopes to have the plan by Dec. 31.

Read: Detroit's bankruptcy judge releases proposed deadlines in case

Creditors will have an opportunity to argue that the city hasn't negotiated in good faith. Both sides have consented to a mediator being brought in to help with negotiations.

There's another issue: Michigan's constitution bars breaking public pensions, which are a key part of the city's liabilities.

"He wants to unload an economic crisis that we never created on to our backs, the people who can least afford it," said retired city worker David Sole. "We say take it from the banks. The banks destroyed Detroit. They trapped Detroit into high interest loans. Now, their demanding first lien on all tax dollars ... so, we're saying 'Hell no.'"

Rhodes last week put a stop to lawsuits in state court that threatened to derail the case. He says he'll take up the challenges at the appropriate time.