Ambassador Bridge owner found in civil contempt

Wayne County Judge Prentis Edwards did not order penalty

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DETROIT - A Detroit judge says the owner of the Ambassador Bridge is in contempt of court for failing to finish work on a project linking the U.S.-Canada span with two interstates.

Wayne County Judge Prentis Edwards did not order a penalty Thursday. He'll hold another hearing on Jan. 12, and he wants bridge owner Manuel "Matty" Moroun present.

"The opinion issued today has no legal or factual basis. The Ambassador Bridge can only conclude that the politics in Lansing have influenced this lawsuit," Moroun said in a statement.

Read:  Matty Moroun's full response 

In response, Detroit International Bridge Company President Dan Stamper issued the following statement:

"The judge was seriously wrong and we will properly appeal. The evidence shows clearly that piers 11, 12, 13 and 19 were built properly. DIBC is continuing to work hard to finish its portions of the Gateway Project by 1/10/2012, and it will do so. We invite the public to review DIBC's actions over the past half year and MDOT's inactions, as any such review will make it clear that DIBC is doing what it is supposed to do and MDOT is consistently being obstructive. For these reasons, we are confident that we will win on appeal."

The state of Michigan sued the company after it failed to meet a deadline to finish its part of a $230 million project to improve traffic at the bridge linking Detroit to Ontario.

State engineer Tony Kratofil says the bridge company has done only "superficial" work to follow the judge's previous orders.

The judge might order an insurance company to complete the job.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.