DETROIT – The Local 4 Defenders have discovered another business along the Detroit riverfront isn’t paying its bills to the city, raising serious questions about how the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is being run.
Local 4 Defender Karen Drew found an unpaid bill of more than $112,000 for one address along the river. Residents are fuming, considering the city cracks down on them when they don’t pay their bills.
The Detroit Marine Terminal is the company that owes the money to DWSD.
“It doesn’t seem right,” taxpayer Mike Noble said.
Karen showed up at the address along Jefferson Avenue to ask some questions. She was told she’s not allowed on the property at this time.
“No one here can talk about this bill?” Karen asked.
“There is no manager,” an employee said.
“Can you at least let them know we are here?” Karen asked.
“I already did,” the employee said.
How can a business run and not pay its bills? Doesn’t the city notice?
This isn’t the first time the Local 4 Defenders have uncovered unpaid DWSD bills from big businesses. Revere Dock owed the city more than $35,000 in drainage fees.
“We certainly will ask to be paid if they owe us that amount,” said Gary Brown, director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, back in January. “However, we found it is in dispute. We want to work with this company."
“This company does not work with people,” Karen said. “They ignore all the citations and violations.”
“If they ignore us, we will take them to court and sue them,” Brown said.
“We brought it to your attention, and at that time, no one knew this bill wasn’t paid,” Karen said. “How does that happen?”
“Well, we have 440,000 accounts in our billing system,” Brown said.
After that sit-down interview with Brown, all interview requests with DWSD have been denied. The City Department will only issue statements to the Defenders.
In reference to the $112,000 unpaid bill, DWSD issued the following statement:
“While the accounts are in dispute and until a site assessment by our stormwater engineers occurs, DWSD will not pursue collection actions on the accounts though they are responsible for the bills until proven otherwise during the dispute process.”
“It’s unfair to everyone in Detroit who pays their bill on time, and I think they should go ahead and pay it,” taxpayer Crystal Pruiett said. “That’s tax dollars we could be using.”
Local 4 called Detroit Marine Terminal and hasn’t heard back.
The Defenders also discovered a $1,800 unpaid bill to DWSD from Waterfront Terminal Holdings.