Ballot proposal possible as Pistons lawsuit drama continues

DETROIT – A federal judge is set to decide the fate of two lawsuits by activist Robert Davis challenging whether Detroit can give the Pistons $34 million in tax capture monies.

The city is asking the judge to rule on both Davis lawsuits at the same time instead of dismissing one while letting the other continue.

The $34 million approved by Detroit's City Council comes from a specific downtown district that state law mandates the tax money must be used in the same area. That explanation doesn't sit well with many Detroiters who have shown up at town hall meetings.

"They're building up the Wayne State area, the downtown area, and that's great, but we need to expand out and $34 million could do a lot," Marsha Lee said. 

People have been outspoken about seeing those tax dollars go to the billionaire owner of the Pistons as a condition of moving downtown to the Little Caesars Arena. 

Davis, who legal experts said is likely not to succeed in his federal court lawsuits, is now pushing a ballot proposal that would have Detroit voters decide whether they want the monies to go to projects like this. Whether he can get the signatures by an Aug. 14 deadline is questionable.

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