Detroit EM prepared to deliver bad news to city creditors

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr meets with city creditors Friday morning

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

DETROIT - Only Local 4 cameras were rolling Thursday night when Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr left a high-level meeting with experts working on a restructuring proposal for the city and the elimination of its $17 billion in long-term liabilities.

Orr said he is ready to go.

"No one likes to hear the bearer of bad news, but this is the truth. It is accurate. It is open," he said.

Friday morning's meeting with creditors may last up to 2 hours but don't be surprised if some of the invitees walk out once they hear the suggestion that they get pennies on the dollar. Friday is the opening salvo. It should be known by the end of the month whether any out-of-court deal can be reached or if the city of Detroit will become the largest municipal bankruptcy filing ever.

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Orr has said bankruptcy is not his first option but he will pull the trigger if negotiations go nowhere.

Everyone -- creditors, employees and retirees -- is going to have to take a cut.

Detroit's Pension Fund officials say they have already set aside millions of dollars to fight Orr. However, the reality is the city is flat broke by the end of June. The financial crisis decades in the making finally hits rock bottom on Friday.

"Nothing worth getting is gotten easily and this is one of those times where after 40 years of demographic changes and almost a decade of, shall we say, some very interesting financial management, we've got to get at it," Orr said.

Security will be tight for the meeting and SWAT has been put on standby in case protests get out of hand.

Mayor Dave Bing declined to comment on the meeting, saying the issue is too sensitive at this time.

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