Gov. Snyder to be questioned about Detroit bankruptcy

Unions to question governor under oath about Detroit bankruptcy case

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®

DETROIT - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will be questioned under oath Wednesday about the process leading up to the city of Detroit filing for bankruptcy.

Attorneys for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the United Auto Workers will question the governor under oath.  The deposition was approved by federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes, who is hearing the Detroit bankruptcy case.

It is likely the governor will be asked why he chose Kevyn Orr to be Detroit's emergency manager; why he thought the city qualified for bankruptcy; and why he put city workers in a position to lose retirement money, when the state constitution says those pensions cannot be touched.

Bankruptcy expert Doug Bernstein with the Plunkett Cooney law firm said the goals for the questioners are simple.

"The argument is probably something along the lines of the governor and the city had bankruptcy in mind all along and there is nothing that could be done that was going to change their mind," Bernstein said.

While the unions claim Kevyn Orr has never bargained in good faith, Orr counters by saying he tried to negotiate with the unions, but they never brought a counter proposal to the table, Bankruptcy expert Doug Bernstein said the city needs to show the unions did not intend to negotiate.

"From the practical matter in a Chapter 9 proceeding the burden is on the city to prove that they had negotiated in good faith and also prove the other elements of eligibility," Bernstein said.

The questioning of the governor is expected to last for three hours.

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