THREAT TO CUT DETROIT FUNDS OVER CONSENT DEAL LAWSUIT A PAPER TIGER–DETROITERS FIGHT BACK

 

 

 Detroiters mobilize to resist:                                                                                            

  • Mon. June 11, 8 AM—City Council and Mayor meet to discuss threat; be there early
  • Wed. June 13, 8 AM–Busloads leave to attend lawsuit hearing in Mason 

Analysis–by Diane Bukowski 

June 10, 2012 

Detroit Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon

DETROIT – Detroit is not in danger of going broke or otherwise facing disaster if Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon maintains her lawsuit, which asks to void the treacherous Public Act 4 consent agreement between city and state officials. 

State Treasurer Andy Dillon, Deputy Treasurer Thomas Saxton,  and/or U.S. Bank are threatening to withhold $80 million from the city if the lawsuit not withdrawn.On Monday, June 11 at 8 a.m, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council will meet in public session to discuss the threat. 

Today, the Detroit Free Press called the lawsuit “suicidal defiance.” It told the city to “swallow its pride.” 

Protesters, including Wayne Bernard at front, occupy Cadillac Place lobby as Court of Appeals hears case PA4 referendum; the COA has now delayed its ruling, likely until it is too late to put it on the Nov. ballot.

This is a declaration that Detroiters HAVE NO RIGHT TO RESIST the fascist control of the state and banks like U.S. Bank. 

Judges across the country have found U.S. Bank guilty of foreclosure fraud. The national Fair Housing Alliance filed a federal complaint April 12 claiming it discriminates against “communities of color” by letting foreclosed properties there go to rack and ruin while maintaining those in white neighborhoods. 

What’s next—public whippings and lynchings of those who have defied the slavemasters to stand up for the constitutional and human rights of Detroiters? 

Charter Commissioner Attorney Rosemary Robinson at City Council June 5, 2012

“This is unconscionable,” former Charter Commissioner and long-time attorney Rosemary Robinson said. “I urge Attorney Crittendon to advance her defense of the people of Detroit by standing firm and allowing no coercion by the state.  She is doing the right thing for the people she represents. The Council effectively destroyed representative government in this city and gave away the city’s assets. We are organized and being awakened. WE DO NOT CONSENT!” 

Robinson is a member of “Free Detroit-No Consent,” which plans to take busloads to Mason, Michigan Wed. June 13 for the first hearing on the lawsuit before Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette. The buses will leave from Bethany Baptist Church at 15122 W. Chicago, east of Greenfield, at 8 a.m. 

The consent agreement, whose actual language the corporate media has deliberately chosen to ignore, says the following regarding the threatened funds, which are part of a state loan, not a gift, to the city. 

Detroit CFO Jack Martin, in his previous incarnation as emergency manager, tells Highland Park residents why their school district must be destroyed by

“The anticipated aggregate size of the refinancing is approximately $137 million, of which approximately $33 million will be used to refinance existing debt, and approximately $104 million will be placed in an escrow account and used to pay for costs of the Reform Program and for City operating expenses.” 

The costs of the “Reform Program” are those imposed by the consent agreement. They include the salaries of a chief financial officer, program manager, nine-member Financial Advisory Board and their staff, as well as staff hired to carry out the down-sizing and eventual obliteration of Detroit. 

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson with Mayor Dave Bing at her right, UAW President Bob King to his right, during Dec. 1, 2011 press conference denouncing state takeover of Detroit.

Chief Financial Officer Jack Martin, appointed under the consent agreement with the joint approval of Mayor Dave Bing and Governor Rick Snyder, makes $220,000. It was Martin who declared the city will run out of money by the end of this week, but somehow will still make payroll. 

He’s clearly concerned that HE will not get paid. 

If the “escrow account” is intended to finance Detroit’s “operating expenses,” why does the city’s 2012-13 budget slash $250 million from city services? That includes the lay-offs of 2566 city workers, most of them residents and taxpayers in Detroit, and the dismantling of departments primarily funded by the federal government. 

Tyrone Travis speaks against consent agreement at City Council April 4, with Sandra Hines and Morris Mays at his right

“We’re in a fight against violent people, because you are bringing death to our community,” Free Detroit member Tyrone Travis told the City Council June 5 during a session packed with angry residents, where a letter in support of Crittendon’s lawsuit was presented to Council. 

The private sector is drooling at the mouth, waiting to snatch up hundreds of millions in  grants for health care, job placement, prevention of foreclosures, evictions, and utilities shut-offs, day care, emergency food and clothing, home weatherization, and education under the Head Start program. 

Linda Willis at protest to demand moratorium on Detroit's debt to the banks May 17, 2012.

It is certain that those funds, under private control, will disappear down the same rathole where $23.7 trillion in taxpayer bail-outs of the banks went. 

U.S. Bank is a subsidiary of US Bancorp, which has $341 billion in assets, making it one of the country’s top five banks. U.S. Bank has had control of Detroit’s purse strings since at least 2009. It makes a tidy profit in fees by acting as trustee over all city income from state revenue-sharing funds and casino taxes, to ensure that the city pays off its $12.6 billion debt to the banks on a regular basis. 

US Bancorp also profited handsomely from the 2008 taxpayer bail-out of the banks. On the brink of failure, it got $6.6 billion in funds from the TARP program, along with unknown amounts given secretly to the banks under other programs. It re-paid the $6.6 billion in 2009, but raked in $334.2 million in profits off the deal. Revived by the bail-out, it has since continued to announce record profits. 

Those profits have come at a hefty cost to poor communities nationwide. 

Abaned home on Pierce in Detroit; previous occupants grew rose bushes there.

On April 17. 2012, the National Fair Housing Alliance NFHA) announced that it had filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  against US Bancorp. 

“Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and four of its member organizations announced a federal housing discrimination complaint against U.S. Bancorp and U.S. Bank National Bank Association,” NFHA said in a press release. “This complaint. . .is the result of an undercover investigation of U.S. Bank’s properties that found that its foreclosed properties in White areas are much better maintained and marketed than its properties in African-American and Latino neighborhoods.” 

Shanna Smith, NFHA President and CEO, said in the release, “Our findings underscore the obvious: properties that are poorly maintained not only lose value but have a higher likelihood of selling to an investor, rather than to a family. U.S. Bank is making it harder for the market to come back in communities of color.” 

Protester at demonstation against Detroit debt to banks May 17, 2012

Gail Williams, Executive Director of Metro Fair Housing Services, Inc. in Atlanta, GA said, “Without routine maintenance, these properties have become an eyesore for Atlanta’s neighborhoods and should be an embarrassment for U.S. Bank. Atlanta’s neighborhoods are being victimized over and over again by the Big Banks; first with predatory loans, then denying loan modifications, through the foreclosure crisis, and now with poorly maintained REO [real-estate owned] properties.” 

Judges have also found US Bancorp guilty of foreclosure fraud in several high-profile cases. In a 2011 ruling on the Ibanez case, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts held that U.S. Bank had not proven it had the right to foreclose on a homeowner , since it didn’t have title to the property. 

An article in FireDogLake, (link below), summarized the ruling.

Ad in wake of exposure of foreclosure fraud in Massachusetts Ibanez case

“In a major ruling in the Massachusetts Supreme Court today, US Bank and Wells Fargo lost the “Ibanez case,” meaning that they don’t have standing to foreclose due to improper mortgage assignment. The ruling is likely to send shock waves through the entire judicial system, and seriously raise the stakes on foreclosure fraud. Bank stocks are plummeting at this hour.”

Earlier, in 2011, a Florida case, U.S. Bank v Ernest Harpster, a judge ruled that “fraud” was involved in another U.S. Bank foreclosure case.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog said, “U.S. Bank v Ernest Harpster was dismissed last month by Judge Lynn Tepper of Pasco County after she found that an “assignment of mortgage” filed in the case, which was meant to show how U.S. Bank obtained ownership of the mortgage, was false. . . .Thus the bank couldn’t show it owned the property before the foreclosure suit was filed, the judge found. The Law Offices of David J. Stern, which represented the bank, prepared the document. The document was ‘fraudulently backdated, in a purposeful, intentional effort to mislead,’ Judge Tepper ruled.”

Occupy Vermont demands jail for banksters

The Wall Street Journal article and others related to these cases and others indicates that such mortgage foreclosure fraud remains rampant throughout the U.S., even after the 2008 taxpayer bail-out of the banks.

U.S. Bank (US Bancorp) and its minions in state government are now threatening foreclosure of the entire city of Detroit. Detroiters must rise up to put a stop to these criminal practices and demand lengthy terms in prison for the guilty parties.

Buses to hearing in Mason, MI to leave from Bethany Baptist Church at 15122 W. Chicago (e. of Greenfield), Wed. April 13, 2012 at 8 a.m. Be there 7:30 am. Call Free Detroit at 313-444-0061 to register.

Free Detroit website at http://www.freedetroit.org/,  Email  info@freedetroit.org

Fair Housing Organizations File Discrimination Complaint Against US Bank

2012-04-17 US Bank HUD Complaint

http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/01/07/ma-supreme-court-deals-banks-a-major-blow-on-foreclosure-fraud-in-the-ibanez-case/ 

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2010/04/19/judge-finds-fraud-in-foreclosure-mess/


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8 WAYS DELUSIONAL RIGHT-WINGERS ARE BLOWING WISCONSIN OUT OF PROPORTION

 

Thousands of protesters from metro Detroit swamped motorists going into Troy fundraiser for Scott Walker April 17, 2012

 The triumphalism is more a manifestation of conservatives’ wishful thinking than a reflection of any objective reality.  

AlterNet / ByJoshua Holland

 June 6, 2012 |

 On Tuesday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker held onto his job with a typical Republican campaign built on trickery, wildly dishonest messaging and a massive budget courtesy of a handful of ideologically like-minded sugar daddies from out-of-state (according to Mother Jones, about two-thirds of Walker’s donations came from outside the Badger State, compared with just around a quarter of his opponent’s).

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

In the aftermath of the vote, conservatives, proving typically magnanimous in victory, spun the results like a top. They claimed the outcome spelled doom for Obama this fall, marked the death of the labor movement and was a pure reflection of voters’ love for Scott Walker’s economy-crushing austerity policies.

“This is what democracy looks like,” Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch crowed after hanging on to her job. “Public sector unions are over,” rejoiced libertarian blogger Radley Balko on Twitter. The Breitbart kids, furthering a standard-issue conservative lie about unions, happily reported that, “Walker won 36% of Wisconsin’s union households, which isn’t surprising, considering how workers reacted when emancipated from forced dues.” (By law, nobody can be forced to pay union dues – workers in union shops can only be compelled to pay the direct costs of representing them.)

Wisconsin protesters

We shouldn’t kid ourselves; it was obviously a serious defeat for the progressive movement. Yet the triumphalism is more a manifestation of conservatives’ wishful thinking than a reflection of objective reality. Here are eight reasons why.

1. Wisconsinites Just Didn’t Like the Idea of Recalling a Sitting Governor

An honest reading of the published exit poll leads to an important conclusion about Walker’s victory that has little to do with unions, Walker’s policies, the economy or any of the other factors that have pundits’ tongues wagging.

Fully 70 percent of those voters polled believed that recall elections are either never appropriate (10 percent) or are only appropriate in the case of official misconduct (60 percent).

The governor won 72 percent of this group. And it’s worth noting that a third of those voters who said “official misconduct” is a good reason to recall a governor voted to oust Walker, who has seen six of his staffers charged with 15 felonies in the “John Doe” probe.

While Walker himself has not yet been charged, reports suggest that the investigation is circling closer to him. Over the past seven weeks, he transferred $160,000 from his campaign funds to a legal defense fund, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In a recent interview with AlterNet, John Nichols, associate editor of the Madison Capitol Times, noted that the governor “is now represented by four separate law firms, including two of the top criminal defense law firms. These aren’t firms that deal with election law; these are firms that deal with major crimes.” He survived the recall, but his problems are by no means over. Continue reading


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EMERGENCY STATES–BY KHARY KIMANI TURNER

Khary Kimani Turner


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FREE DETROIT LETTER TO CORP. COUNSEL KRYSTAL CRITTENON


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BUSES GOING TO LAWSUIT HEARING ON DETROIT CONSENT AGREEMENT JUNE 13; DOZENS PACK COUNCIL MEETING TO SUPPORT ACTION

 

Phyllis Griffiths resds letter from “Free Detroit” in support of Krystal Crittendon’s lawsuit to City Council June 5, 2012.

Suit says state owes city $230.4 million, asks for “declaratory judgment, permanent injunctive relief” against agreement 

Emergency hearing Wed. June 13, 10 AM before Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette in Mason, MI; two buses scheduled to leave from Bethany Baptist Church at 8 a.m. June 13, 15122 W. Chicago. Be there at 7:30 a.m.

By Diane Bukowski 

June 6, 2012 

DETROIT – An initial hearing on an historic lawsuit challenging Detroit’s consent agreement with the state, which essentially handed over control of the world’s largest Black-majority city outside of Africa, is set for Wed. June 13 at 10 a.m. Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette will preside as a representative of the State’s Court of Claims, in Mason, Michigan. (See map at end of story.) 

Rev. David Bullock has volunteered to send two busloads of lawsuit supporters to the hearing. The busloads will leave June 13 at 8 a.m..

The lawsuit, #12-000066-MK, asks for “declaratory and injunctive relief” to permanently void the agreement, reached under provisions of Public Act 4. The city’s Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon and Law Department attorney James Noseda filed the suit June 1 on behalf of the City of Detroit.

Defendants are the State of Michigan, its Department of Treasury, and Andy Dillon in his capacity as State Treasurer. 

“There is no valid contract between the parties because, on or after the date when the Contract [consent agreement] was made, the State was in default to the City,” Crittendon and Noseda say in the suit. 

It says state and city statutes bar the agreement because the state owes a total of $230,427,205.99 to Detroit (see sidebar). Those debts, if paid, would eliminate the alleged need for $250 million in city budget cuts for 2013, save 2,566 jobs, and otherwise put the city in the black.

State Treasury Department apokesperson Terry Stanton responded in a statement, “”The claims in the city’s complaint against the Consent Agreement have no merit. The State is not in default to the City of Detroit.”

Judge Collette is the same judge who ruled that Financial Review Teams must be open to the public, along with another colleague in Ingham County Circuit Court. Their rulings were later overturned on appeal by the staet.

Elder Helen Moore addresses Council as Sandra Hines displays NO CONSENT sign June 5, 2012.

Dozens of Detroiters packed Council chambers and hallways for two and a half hours June 5, condemning the City Council “Fatal Five” who voted for the agreement, as well as council members who voted for the 2013 budget.

Midway, Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins, one of the Five, haughtily led her entire staff out of the room, angry because Tina Person, the “East-Side Lady,” had challenged her proposed reduction of public TV airing of Council sessions. Charles Pugh, Gary Brown, Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. and James Tate are the other four who voted for the consent agreement.

DTE pulled up Highland Park's streetlights last year; Detroit is in the dark this year.

“Charles Pugh, you said during hearings on the consent agreement that we will still get our city service,” Valerie Burris said. “That was a lie. Our neighborhood’s garbage pick-up was three days late, and there are no streetlights working on Outer Drive. You five on the Council voted yes on an agreement you didn’t understand. You don’t care about the citizens. It’s going to be up to us to organize ourselves to resist this decree.” 

Bing has already announced he plans to turn off 42.000 street lights in the city. The consent agreement calls for privatization of both the Public Lighting and Transportation Departments. The Council, by a unanimous vote on June 1, reduced Bing’s recommendations for general fund support for D-DOT from $52.3 million to $40 million, calling D-DOT “unsustainable.”  

Former charter commissioner Attorney Rosemary Robinson speaks to Council June 5, 2012.

Former City Charter Commissioner and long-time attorney Rosemary Robinson told Council members, “You have effectively destroyed representative government in this city. We are organized and being awakened. You have given away the city’s assets, sold us out to Lansing. WE DO NOT CONSENT!” 

Sandra Hines told the Council, “We have already lost control of the Detroit Public Schools, but we are not about to consent to losing Detroit. The consent agreement is illegal, it violates the Headlee Amendment and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The city’s power was not taken–you gave it away! You have no respect for the people. We are going to do everything we can to get you indicted.”

Councilman James Tate after hours of being blasted by Detroiters angry at consent agreement.

Tyrone Travis declared, “We’re in a fight against violent people, because you are bringing death to our community.”

Many members of the audience held up signs declaring “NO CONSENT!” as Robinson and others spoke. 

“Free Detroit-No Consent,” a group of prominent citizens led by Robinson, presented a letter supporting Crittendon’s action to the Council. It also denounces the Council vote to approve the budget, saying it was based on an “illegally authorized fiscal stability agreement.” 

The Council has not yet voted to appoint its two members to the nine-member Financial Advisory Board that is part of the agreement, which requires the Board to approve city budgets. 

The letter asks the Board of Ethics to investigate the officials involved, “initiate forfeiture proceedings and take all necessary and sanctioned action including and not limited to judicial prosecution.” 

Brenda Hurt denounces consent agreement to Council June 5, 2012.

Many of those who spoke denounced the pending shutdowns of the city’s Departments of Health and Wellness Promotion (DHWP), Human Services (D-DHS), and Workforce Stability Development under the new budget. Those departments are primarily funded by federal grants and cost the city little. 

The Council voted unanimously June 1 to temporarily restore partial funding to these departments pending their transfer to private entities, a compromise with Bing’s recommendation that funding be immediately cut.

“How does a human being get out of the business of helping other human beings?” asked Brenda Hurt, a signer of the letter and a DHS worker. “You are giving away funds that the federal government has granted to the people of Detroit, and throwing us workers out in the street.” 

Deena Johnson said the dismantling of D-DHS is already taking place. 

Councilmen Gary Brown, who pushed for budget vote, and Charles Pugh, who got angry listening to comments June 5, 2012.

“They are taking Human Services out of the Six Mile Water Board office,” she said. “They already took our offices on Grandy. What about Detroiters—where can we go? We pay higher car insurance, light and gas bills. I expect the City Council to keep Human Services open. We want this to be a public service, not a private agency. Help us.” 

D-DHS services include prevention of foreclosures, evictions and utility shut-offs, provision of food, clothing, day-care and transportation, and funding to  non-profits like Young Detroit Builders. It also ran the city’s home weatherization program, which was turned over to WMCAA April 1, with hundreds of workers and contractors left unpaid, and work on homes unfinished. 

The city’s Head Start Program, which D-DHS coordinates through contractors, receives $55 million in federal funding which is being transitioned. 

Cecily McClellan, VP APTE

“This means grant-funded programs are being privatized and will not be subject to City Council approval,” said Cecily McClellan, Vice-President of the Association of Professional and Technical Employees (APTE) and a member of Free Detroit. “Civil service requirements will not apply. This is going on across the nation.” 

Susan Glaser, a member of the city’s Pension Board, said, “Once others find out the city is not going to be providing these services, private agencies will be scampering to get tens of millions of dollars in grant awards. I started working for the city during the years of the Fight Against Poverty, but poverty has not ended, the only thing that has ended is the fight. I would never have imagined then what is happening now. “ 

Police, firefighters and other city workers demonstrate May 6, 2009 against MERS pension takeover

She said the city’s pension system is now 90 percent funded and gaining. Greg Murray, President of the Senior Accountants, Analysts and Appraisers Association (SAAA), warned that the cuts may be the first step in dismantling the pension system. 

“Has anyone recognized the impact the lay-offs of 3,000 employees will have on the pension fund?” he asked. “This is a long-term plan to destabilize the pension fund so it can go to an outside entity like the Michigan Employees Retirement System (MERS).” 

DeAngelo Malcolm of AFSCME Council 25

Bing unsuccessfully tried to give the city’s two pension systems, worth over $6 billion, to MERS two years ago. The Lansing-based MERS is a private organization which ousts member systems when they fall below the requisite funding percentage. When it took over the Highland Park system, many retirees were not regularly paid. 

DeAngelo Malcolm, staff representative for AFSCME Council 25 implored the Council to stop the destruction of Detroit. 

“On my way here today, someone told me a dead body had just been found in a dumpster. There are dead bodies in the streets all through the city. You have children coming to Council today complaining that the grass is not being cut in vacant lots, which is dangerous for them. The Detroit Workforce Development Department (DWDD) and Health Departments (DHWP) are closing. I thought this body had to approve transfers to neophyte private entities.” 

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson June 5, 2012

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson said she did not support getting rid of the three grant-funded departments, and that if Public Act 4 did not exist, the Council would have had to approve the move. In effect, however, the Council did so in its June 1 resolution. 

While the Council restored $7 million to DHWP, it is still slated to be given over to the Institute for Population Health after a transition period and public hearing.  The Council restored $48 million to the Detroit Workforce Development Department, “while plans to collaborate with a non-profit entity are thoroughly discussed with the administration.”  

Bing’s budget identified that agency as the Detroit Workforce Board, Inc.

Speaker denounces cuts of grant-funded departments June 5, 2012.

It said that the board “will assume the role of fiscal agent and grant recipient for those funds currently administered by the DWDD, subject to the designation by the Chief Elected Official of the City and concurrence by the Governor of the State of Michigan.” 

It also said the “Corporation will hire staff in a variety of positions to administer the funds awarded to the Local Workforce Area and other funds directly granted to the Board to train, re-train, secure employment, operate local One-Stop Career Centers and provide various other training through a network of Vendors and Contractors selected by the Workforce Development Board . . .”

Jobseekers gather at DDWD event

A woman carrying a DWDD bag on the People Mover today told this reporter that DWDD has helped many people she knows get decent jobs, with companies like Comcas

Several speakers denounced the numerous closed sessions the City Council has held, as well as its continuing policy of holding meetings in chambers instead of the Erma Henderson auditorium. 

Towards the conclusion of public comments, Valerie Glenn of Free Detroit read a brief poem by acclaimed Detroit writer Khari Kimani Turner (published below) that denounces the consent agreement and the state takeover of Detroit. She was interrupted several times by Pugh, who claimed she was exceeding the time limit.

Buses to hearing in Mason, MI to leave from Bethany Baptist Church at 15122 W. Chicago (e. of Greenfield), Wed. April 13, 2012 at 8 a.m. Be there 7:30 am.  Call Free Detroit at  313-444-0061 to  register.

http://www.freedetroit.org/. Email info@freedetroit.org.

If going by car, map and directions are below.

  • From Detroit, take M-10 N (Lodge Fwy.) to 1-696 Walter Reuther Fwy
    Ingham County Courthouse, 315 S. Jefferson St. Mason, MI 48854
  • to Exit 18C left to Lansing 
  • Becomes I-96 W (a total of 53. 6 miles from Exit 18C).
  • Take Exit 110 toward Mason/Okemos.
  • Left onto Okemos Rd.
  • Okemos becomes N. Okemoa.
  • Turn slight left onto S. Jefferson St.
  • 315 S. Jefferson St. Mason, MI 9s on the left.                           

Related articles at http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/06/04/detroits-top-counsel-crittendon-takes-consent-agreement-to-court/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/06/02/detroit-consent-agreement-challenge-to-go-before-judge/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/05/28/detroiters-begin-ethics-complaint-campaign-against-bing-councils-fatal-five-lewis-and-brown-over-consent-agreement/

For other related VOD articles, put “consent agreement” in search box.


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DETROIT’S TOP COUNSEL CRITTENDON TAKES CONSENT AGREEMENT TO COURT

Consent agreement opponents Council members JoAnn Watson and Kwame Kenyatta listens as Krystal Crittendon (center) advises Council prior to vote on PA4 consent agreement.

Detroiters to attend Council session Tues. June 5, 10 am in support;     Council also expected to vote re: de-certification of Human Services Dept. 

By Diane Bukowski 

(Note: VOD now publishes links to documents referenced in the story at its conclusion.)

 June 4, 2012 

DETROIT – City of Detroit Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon filed suit in the Michigan Court of Claims June 1 demanding that the state make good on its debts to the city before enforcing the “Fiscal Stability Agreement” reached between Mayor Dave Bing, the City Council, and the state of Michigan April 4.

Ingham County 30th Circuit Court, where state Court of Claims is housed.

The Michigan Court of Claims is part of Ingham County Circuit Court. It has exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving claims of over $1,000 in money damages against the state. It is part of Ingham County Circuit Court, whose judges also carry out its duties.

Ia a May 1 legal opinion requested by the Detroit City Council through Council member JoAnn Watson, Crittendon said it is illegal under state and city law for Detroit to contract with any entity which has defaulted on its debt(s) to the city. 

Former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and former Michigan Gov. John Engler

“The Law Department is aware of three areas where the State of Michigan is in default to the City,” Crittendon wrote.“These include: 1) The outstanding bill for water and sewerage service at the State Fairgounds amounting to $4.75 million . . . 2) The failure of the State to fulfill its obligations regarding statutory revenue sharing resulting from the Agreement entered into between the City and the State in 1998.  . .3)  Accumulated unremitted claims against the State. Nearly six hundred accumulated City of Detroit claims are pending against the State totaling approximately $300,000 in value.” 

She attached documentation for each debt, including $224 million resulting from the 1998 agreement executed by then Mayor Dennis Archer and then Governor John Engler.  She also attached and refuted an opinion from former Corporation Counsel John Johnson, Jr. that that debt was not enforceable. 

Attorney John Johnson, Jr. (r) represented Michigan NAACP President Yvonne White against a lawsuit brought by Benton Harbor NAACP President Edward Pinkney for trying to oust him from his office; photo April 11, 2012

Johnson was found guilty of one count of “professional misconduct” in 2010 by the state’s attorney grievance board in 2010, involving the infamous Kwame Kilpatrick text message scandal. The board said he told the Detroit Free Press that no settlement agreement existed in a lawsuit against then Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick when in fact it did.

Crittendon said in an April 1 opinion attached to the May 1 document that the Fiscal Stability Agreement constitutes a consent agreement under Public Act 4, noting numerous sections of the agreement which cite language from PA 4. She said PA 4 does not void city and state laws barring contracts with parties in default. 

Some of dozens of protesters who packed Detroit's state building May 17 to demand that appeals court put referendum to repeal PA4 on the ballot.

“The Emergency Manager Act does not mention or refer to MCL 117.5(l)(f) [state default law], or provide that the Home Rule City Act prohibition against a city contracting with one in default to the city does not apply to a consent agreement entered into under the Emergency Manager Act,” Crittendon wrote.   

The distinction is key because a state appeals court has not yet ruled on whether a referendum to repeal PA 4 can go on the state’s November ballot. 

Crittendon informed State Treasurer Andy Dillon of her position that the agreement is “void” in a letter May 11. Dillon disputed the validity of the debts she cited, but not the validity of laws barring contracts with entities in default. 

Protester at auto show Jan. 8 expresses his opinion of Gov. Rick Snyder

The Court of Claims would rule on the monetary dispute.   

At Gov. Snyder’s request, the Michigan Supreme Court took control of a previous lawsuit against PA4 filed in theIngham County Circuit Court, and has since interminably delayed a hearing. Since the Court of Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over monetary claims, that scenario is unlikely 

Sara Wurfel, spokesperson for Gov. Snyder, said regarding Crittendon’s lawsuit, “Our reaction is that we’re focused on moving forward with the agreement that was signed voluntarily by all parties. The city and citizens of Detroit can’t and shouldn’t have to wait any longer. More litigation and delays only continue the problems of the past and make the recovery more difficult.”

Mayor Dave Bing concurred in published remarks.

Gov. Rick Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing concur on proceeding with consent agreement.

“The Law Department has exercised its right to challenge the consent agreement,” he said. “Whatever the legal outcome, we will abide by it. But I’m not interested in getting into any legal battle that will distract us from executing my fiscal stability plan.”

But Sharon McPhail, former General Counsel for the City of Detroit, who supervised the office of the Corporation Counsel, disagreed. 

“That is a courageous action for Ms. Crittendon to take,” McPhail said. “It also shows the value of powers the new city charter accords to the Corporation Counsel, giving her broader latitude, particularly in dealing with this City Council.”                         

Attorney Sharon McPhail

Under the revised Charter, the Corporation Counsel represents both branches of city government, and has the duty to enforce the Charter, including taking judicial action.  The Corporation Counsel can be removed only for cause, with a supermajority vote from the City Council. 

Several Council members who voted for the Consent Agreement have said they support Crittendon’s pursuit of a legal judgment. They have held off a vote on appointing two members to the nine-member Financial Advisory Board the agreement provides for.

McPhail said Crittendon, who has practiced law since 1973 and was appointed Corporation Counsel by then Mayor Kenneth Cockrel, Jr. during his short term in 2009, is an extremely competent attorney. 

“The Corporation Counsel’s office reported to me during my tenure,” McPhail said. “I reviewed all cases individually where there was a constitutional issue involved, or where a proposed settlement exceeded $1 million. From the work that I saw done by Ms. Crittendon, she was one of the best lawyers we had.  Earlier, when I was on City Council, I would ask for documentation from proposed lawsuit settlements, and she always had it ready in the cases she handled, unlike some other attorneys.” 

McPhail said she also believes the consent agreement is illegal. 

“I think it is illegal for more than one reason,” McPhail said. “I never have understood why the state thinks it can say ‘we don’t like what you’re doing,’ citing as evidence financial problems. The state itself is in trouble financially, and so are most other cities in the state. The fact that Public Act 4 proceedings have been brought chiefly against majority-Black cities indicates that the state believes a person’s color means they will do a better job. There is no question that in every city things could be better, but there is also no question that when you put a business person in charge, things don’t get better. “ 

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, State Treasurer Andy Dillon, and Mayor Dave Bing are all former corporate executives of corporations which eventually failed. (See sidebar.) 

Valerie Glenn, a co-founder of “Free Detroit,” a coalition of Detroiters opposed to the consent agreement, said they will present a letter to Corporation Counsel Crittendon commending her action, and copies to the City Council, during its formal session Tues. June 5 at 10 a.m. 

“We want Corporation Counsel Crittendon to know that we completely support her following through based on the letter of the law,” Glenn said. “Free Detroit is a conglomerate of many individuals and groups, and there are many other Detroiters as well that oppose this consent agreement. She has acted in good faith with the people to try to scuttle the agreement. We feel a legal judgment must be rendered before the consent agreement can take effect. We are in this to win it.” 

Valerie Glenn (2nd from left) with other members of Free Detroit, including Sandra Hines at right, declare "NO CONSENT" outside May 17 Court of Appeals hearing on PA4 referendum.

The letter also challenges the budget recently passed by City Council and signed by Bing, which includes a whopping $171 million in cuts, the elimination of many city departments, and the lay-offs of 2566 city workers.

“Mayor Dave Bing and said Council Members have further violated the law by approving a 2013 City budget which was based on an illegally authorized financial stability agreement; thusly, the 2013 budget was passed without the necessary authority,” the group says.

Glenn encouraged Detroiters to come to the Council meeting.  (The Council is also expected to vote on whether to rescind its previous decision against voluntary de-certification of the Detroit Human Services Department.) 

Glenn and four others have filed ethics complaints against the City Council “Fatal Five” who voted for the consent agreement, Bing, and Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis, charging them with violations of the City Charter. Glenn said the group is also planning to file ethics complaints against Governor Snyder and State Treasurer Andy Dillon. 

 “Taxation without representation is horrifically unconstitutional,” Free Detroit said in their founding statement. “Presently ‘we the people’ do not have a voice regarding the management and future of Detroit. We view Public Act 4 as a Racist Test Case. The Consent Agreement and the Emergency Manager strategies are racist and white supremacist in effect. Public Act 4 takes away the power to govern from the duly elected Black officials, and places it in the hands of Whites and cooperative Blacks who will do the bidding of the corporate community.” 

Meanwhile, the corporate media has reacted to Crittendon’s action with outrage. 

Stephen Henderson, Detroit Free Press editorial writer

“This is about power, and who wields it — one of the favorite dickering tactics of the city’s elected officials,” stormed Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press June 3. “It has nothing to do with getting the tens of thousands of nonworking streetlights back on, or getting more patrols on streets that are running deep red in blood this year, or providing parks or recreation centers for kids who will spill out of schools and wander city streets this summer.”

Absolutely nothing in the consent agreement provides solutions for those matters. There is no state funding attached to the agreement, nor does it ask for an infusion of cash from the federal government, which U.S. State Representatives John Conyers, Jr. and Hansen Clarke have advocated in legislation introduced in Congress. 

The consent agreement also neglects to focus on the chief financial problem facing the city, other than to blame city officials for borrowing money. 

Marchers demand "Cancel the debt" May 9, 2012 in downtown Detroit.

Hundreds demanded a moratorium on Detroit’s monstrous debt to the banks May 9, during a protest outside the Bank of America offices on Griswold, which marched to the Coleman A. Young Center. 

“The Financial Advisory Board is all about robbery by the banks,” Jerry Goldberg of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition told the marchers. “The city itself has been victimized by predatory lending. This year, it paid $597 million out of a budget of $1.2 billion on its debt. The consent agreement is a grab by the banks for our tax dollars, even if it means destroying every city service.”

Detroit owes a total of $12.6 billion to the banks, much of which the banks and Wall Street foisted on the city, as they did in 2005 when city officials approved a $1.5 billion pension obligation certificate loan after represenatives from Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings came to the table.

Bob Day, Larry Hicks, Gloria (Aneb) House during May 9 protest

Attorney Bob Day noted that the struggle against the banks is world-wide. 

“This battle is going on in Montreal, Greece, Spain, France and everywhere,” Day said. “People are saying to hell with the banks and their austerity programs. The banks set our communities up for disaster, and when it all fell down, they didn’t get hurt. They got bailed out by our tax dollars. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people are out of their homes, and the loss of tax revenues to our cities has brought in Public Act 4 and emergency managers, which guarantee that the banks will get paid first, This is nothing but a dictatorship of the banks.”

Click on Crittendon May 1 letter to read Corporation Counsel’s advice to City Council.    Click on , State water bill to city, Property claims dispute with state, CA John Johnson letter re revenue sharing debt, and AG opinion on default for attachments to Crittendon’s May 1 opinion.

Click on Letter to K Crittendon From Free Detroit NC to read Free Detroit’s letter supporting Krystal Crittendon, signed by former Charter Commissioner and attorney Rosemary Robinson and other activists.

Click on Free Detroit sample attachment for ethics complaint for sample ethics complaint. Free Detroit is encouraging all to file similar complaints with city Ethics Board. See    http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/05/28/detroiters-begin-ethics-complaint-campaign-against-bing-councils-fatal-five-lewis-and-brown-over-consent-agreement/.

“Free Detroit” blogspot is at http://www.freedetroit.org/.                                                  Contact information:  Phone  313-444-0061  Email  info@freedetroit.org.


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DESPITE VIOLENCE, NATO PROTESTERS MARCH ON CHICAGO

By Starla Muhammad -Staff Writer-Final Call
Updated May 22, 2012 – 12:55:40 AM

CHICAGO (FinalCall.com) – Tension among protestors and Chicago police came to a head toward the end of day one of what was otherwise an animated but peaceful anti-NATO rally and march that took place here, amidst the backdrop of downtown.

Many applauded what was reported as the tremendous restraint of Chicago Police Department handling of the protests. Others complained the tactics used by law enforcement were heavy handed, a scenario many in the Black community are all too familiar with.

Chicago anti NATO protester hurt by police May 29, 2012/AP Wide World photos

At least 45 people were arrested and several injuries were reported, including four police officers, from May 20 clashes.

Law enforcement was in full force, on foot, bicycle patrol and in marked and unmarked vehicles throughout the day and into the evening. Clad in riot gear and wielding batons, the CPD and state police kept a close eye on marchers.

“Today’s march was peaceful with approximately 2,000 people exercising their First Amendment rights. While there have been some scuffles with individual protesters, the Chicago Police Department has acted professionally and with restraint as protesters refused to disperse,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said in a statement.

Anti-Nato protesters mass in Chicago steets

Sarah Gelsomino, an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild, said though lawyers are still compiling information, in addition to the 45 arrested, on least another 45 protestors injured by police. Many reported baton strikes to the head and closed fists to the face, she said.

“We’ve had people with reports of lots of concussions. We’ve seen many broken bones, stitches to the head, stitches to the lip; those are just the serious injuries. Other people are just kind of bruised and shaken,” she told The Final Call in a telephone interview.

Occupy Chicago participated in national NATO protest there

Atty. Gelsomino said contrary to reports, at least 60 people were possibly arrested and though some were released without charges, others have been charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, reckless conduct, failure to disperse and mob action. Mainly misdemeanors, she added. The National Lawyers Guild is a national nonprofit organization of attorneys and legal professionals. The group has represented protestors in various Occupy movements throughout the country and has been actively involved in assisting those arrested during the Chicago NATO protests.

The violence that erupted at the end of the permitted march and was blamed mostly on a group known as Black Bloc, described by many as anarchists. They are known for dressing in all black and instigating violence at otherwise peaceful events, say analysts. Reports said sticks and bottles were hurled at police toward the end of the march.

Chicago police pummel protester

Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy, in talking to reporters, choked up while commending the way officers under his command handled themselves.

“If you think it’s easy to ask people to do what they did, it’s not. Asking people to put themselves in harm’s way knowing that they’re going to get assaulted to be able to stand there and take it, those guys were amazing,” said Superintendent McCarthy.

Atty. Gelsomino, however, said many of the injuries were sustained by innocent protestors not affiliated in any way with Black Bloc.

“The police unleashed indiscriminate violence. There were all kinds of people who saw that. That strike of the police baton,” she said.

The National Lawyers Guild will continue to have legal observers monitor police presence during additional protests scheduled for May 22, the final day of the NATO Summit and subsequent events throughout the week in Chicago, added Atty. Gelsomino.

“We remain hyper-vigilant at this point and have to be prepared unfortunately of more such action from the police. That’s why we have our legal observers on the ground and we will continue to document and record police actions as we go forward here,” she said.

At Final Call presstime, a joint press conference by Occupy Chicago and the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda was scheduled to denounce what they called “the police violence.”

Police officers from as far away as Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Milwaukee joined 3,100 officers from the Chicago Police Department for NATO duty. According to one report, $36.5 million was raised in private donations for NATO-related expenses and the city also received an additional $19 million grant to cover security costs.

The Final Call sent an e-mail to the Chicago police superintendent’s office and called the mayor’s office seeking comments, neither inquiry was returned.

The tens of millions spent to host the summit, while city, state and federal cuts to much needed resources are leaving millions of Americans in a social and economic quandary is what prompted thousands from around the country to converge on Chicago.

There were people from various races, creeds, religions, ideologies and causes, but for the most part many saw eye to eye in their collective cry of dissatisfaction and outrage with the status quo represented by the ultra-rich and powerful entities represented by NATO.

“How do we fix the deficit, end the war and tax the rich,” “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out,” “We are unstoppable, another world is possible,” were just a few of the slogans marchers shouted along the route through the heart of downtown Chicago as many carried homemade signs and posters.

“We’re here because we are part of the 99 Percent. We’re concerned about the communities and the money that’s being diverted away and that the government is saying we need to make all these social cuts in our communities,” said Maria Bell of National Nurses United, a nurses union which also held a protest and rally May 18 in Chicago that drew thousands.

A financial transaction tax would bring billions of dollars into the communities for much needed resources, Ms. Bell said. “If there were a financial transaction tax on Wall Street it could bring $350 billion a year to the United States alone. And if that money was earmarked for health care and education and jobs with justice, all the things our communities need then that would be a good starting point,” added Ms. Bell.

Six of 12 of Chicago’s outpatient mental health clinics closed in April, leaving the 3,000 people they served scrambling to seek help at private clinics, if they have insurance. The closures are estimated to save the city $3 million. The House Agriculture Committee cut $33 billion from the nation’s food stamp program, which millions of low income families still count on.

Overwhelming college debt, an unemployment rate that continues to hover around eight percent nationwide and a crumbling education system could all be fixed with investing instead of cuts and austerity measures argued many protestors.

The housing crisis which saw Blacks and Latinos lose their homes at a disproportionately higher rate than any other group caused the median wealth for both groups to plummet. The median wealth for Latinos declined by 66 percent and Blacks by 53 percent between 2005 and 2009.

“I thought that since international journalists from around the world are here in Chicago, I was hoping to let them know that a lot of the Spanish speaking population, which I’m one of are fed up with the banking system,” said John Viramontes, who was among the protestors.

“I’m here to say that these banks should let these homes go back to the original owners with a reduction in principle,” he said, listing JP Morgan, Chase and Wells Fargo among the list of perpetrators.

Larry “Wolf” Hicks, traveled from Detroit, Mich., a city that has seen its fair share of economic troubles. Financial decisions for the nearly bankrupt city are now being made by a representative from the state of Michigan. The city is facing a $200 million budget deficit.

The dissatisfaction displayed was as palatable as the heat of the 90-degree temperatures reached during the march and while Mr. Hicks said he was not sure if protests would solve any real problems, he said, sitting around doing nothing was worse.

“It’s a bunch of bull crap and if we come together I look at it like this. Ballot by the bullet, any means necessary and like Che Guevera said ‘No concessions to imperialism,’ ” said Mr. Hicks. “Until we come together and fight, we’re not going to get anything right,” said Mr. Hicks.

Even leading up to the protest, those in opposition to NATO said this rally would be important.

Long-time activist Larry Holmes with the World Worker’s Party said global circumstances and those fighting for economic and social justice would make for an important event. “We have a situation where the global capitalist crisis is about to get worse, if that’s possible,” he told a group that convened for a public meeting three days before the main march.

“The underlying reason for that of course is the dire economic crisis that is at this point global and getting worse and how we’re all interconnected. Clearly what happens in Greece effects not only Europe but it affects the United States, Asia and so on,” said Mr. Holmes.

Related story: NATO: Peacemakers or Peacebreakers?


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SUPPORT PEOPLE’S ATTORNEY VANESSA FLUKER TUES. JUNE 5 11 AM; APPEALS COURT

 

This Tuesday, June 5, at 11:00 am, the Michigan Court of Appeals will be hearing oral argument on people’s lawyer Vanessa Fluker’s appeal of the $12,000 in sanctions that was imposed against her by Judge Robert Colombo for fighting the eviction/foreclosure of her client’s home.

Please attend the hearing to show your solidarity with this tireless fighter against foreclosures and for people’s rights.

Background on Vanessa’s case:
http://nationalmoratorium.org/support-anti-foreclosure-attorney-vanessa-fluker/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2011/04/01/a-tale-of-two-attorneys-vanessa-fluker-the-people%E2%80%99s-lawyer-and-judge-robert-colombo-jr-royal-bank-of-scotland%E2%80%99s-friend/

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Sign the petition supporting HR 4848, which calls for a MORATORIUM on FORECLOSURES for THREE YEARS; http://nationalmoratorium.org/

The Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions, and Utility Shutoffs is open to all those who want to fight for a moratorium on foreclosures, evictions, layoffs, and utility shutoffs. We meet every Monday, 7 PM, at 5920 Second Ave., Detroit.

www.moratorium-mi.org  email  moratorium@moratorium-mi.org


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WESTERN MEDIA LIED: OPPOSITION “REBELS” CARRIED OUT HOULA MASSACRE IN SYRIA

At least 80 killed, many of them children, in Houla

Syria Says Houla Massacre Victims Wouldn’t Cooperate With Rebels

By Henry Meyer and Stepan Kravchenko –                                                                   Jun 2, 2012 7:49 AM ET  Bloomberg News

Syria’s ambassador to Russia said terrorists targeted families that refused to follow their orders during the massacre of more than 100 people, including dozens of children, in Houla last week.

“These families were killed because they refused to cooperate with these terrorist groups,”

Riad Haddad, Syrian ambassador to Moscow

Riad Haddad said in an interview at the Syrian embassy in Moscow yesterday. “When the parliamentary elections were held in Syria, these terrorist groups went to villages and towns and stopped people from voting and demanded candidates withdraw.”

The killings in Houla led to new calls for Russia to stop supplying arms to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he doesn’t support either side in the Syrian conflict. The United Nations Human Rights Council called for a probe into the massacre, which it said was carried out by “pro-regime elements” and government forces.

Syrian "rebels" called perpetrators of massacre in Houla

Among the dead in Houla was the family of a lawmaker who refused to withdraw his name from the parliamentary vote, Haddad said. Several hundred militants carried out the killings in Houla, General Qassem Jamal Suleiman, who heads the Syrian investigation into the killings, said May 31.

The rebel attack on Houla came after they fired two anti-tank missiles at Syrian security forces gathering outside the city, killing 31 troops, Haddad said. Among the civilian casualties in Houla were three families from nearby Shomaliya, whom the rebels killed there, he said, citing his government’s preliminary investigation.

Syria has found evidence that fighters from Libya andTunisia with ties to al-Qaeda are “already among the rebels,”Haddad said, adding that some of the massacre was filmed. “The main aim is to cause failure of the Annan plan and to provoke foreign military interference.”

Putin, speaking at a press conference in Paris yesterday, said additional pressure on Assad’s government risks radicalizing the country. He called for more time to allow UN envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan to work.

“We want to achieve the situation where the violence ends and there won’t be large-scale civil war,” Putin said.

To contact the reporters on this story:Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net; Stepan Kravchenko in Moscow at skravchenko@bloomberg.net

THE HOULA MASSACRE: OPPOSITION TERRORISTS “KILLED FAMILES LOYAL TO GOVERNMENT

By Marat Musin

Global Research, June 1, 2012                                                                                              ANNA NEWS (Original Russian) and syrianews.cc

Global Research Editor’s Note

This incisive report by independent Russian journalist Marat Musin dispels the lies and fabrications of the Western media.

The report is based on a chronology of events as well as eyewitness accounts. Entire pro-government families in Houla were massacred. The terrorists were not pro-government shabbiha militia as conveyed, in chorus, by the mainstream media, they were in large part mercenaries and professional killers operating under the auspices of the self-proclaimed Free Syrian Army (FSA):

“When the rebels seized the lower checkpoint in the center of town and located next to the local police department, they began to sweep all the families loyal to the authorities in neighboring houses, including the elderly, women and children.

Several families of the Al-Sayed were killed, including 20 young children and the family of Abdul Razak. The people were killed with knives and shot at point blank range.

Then they presented the murdered [corpses] to the UN and the international community as victims of bombings by the Syrian army, something that was not verified by any marks on their bodies.”
We call on our readers to forward this report far and wide, post it on facebook. .

The massacre in Houla is being blamed on the Syrian government without a shred of evidence. The objective is not only to isolate Syria politically and economically, but to develop a pretext and a justification for waging an R2P humanitarian war on Syria.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has hinted that if the Security Council does not act, the US and its allies may consider “taking actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of the [UN Security] Council.”

This report by Marat Musin confirms that crimes against humanity are being committed by terrorist militia.

It is essential to reverse the tide of war propaganda which uses civilian deaths as a pretext to wage war, when those killings of civilians were carried out not by government forces but by professional terrorists operating under the helm of the US-NATO sponsored Free Syrian Army.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, Montreal, June 1, 2012


In the weekend of May 25, 2012, at about 2 PM, big groups of fighters attacked and captured the town of Al – Hula of the Homs province. Al-Houla is made up of three regions: the village of Taldou, Kafr Laha and Taldahab, each of which had previously been home for 25-30 thousand people.

The town was attacked from the north-east by groups of bandits and mercenaries, numbering up to 700 people. The militants came from Ar-Rastan (the Brigade of al-Farouk from the Free Syrian Army led by the terrorist Abdul Razak Tlass and numbering 250), from the village of Akraba (led by the terrorist Yahya Al-Yousef), from the village Farlaha, joined by local gangsters, and from Al Houla. Continue reading


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DETROIT CONSENT AGREEMENT CHALLENGE TO GO BEFORE JUDGE

 State’s Position Remains Unchanged

Detroit Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon during City Council meeting on consent agreement April 3, 2012.

(VOD: June 1, 2012: An inside source has told VOD that Detroit Corporation Counsel Krystral Crittendon filed a motion for declaratory judgment invalidating the April 4 Consent “Fiscal Stability Agreement” today. More on this from VOD later.)

May 31, 2012

Michigan officials have heard Detroit’s top lawyer make her case against the legality of the city’s consent agreement with the state, but they say they will stand by the terms of the contract.

“There has been no change in our position,” Treasury spokesman Terry Stanton told the Free Press. “We continue to be focused on implementing components of the (financial stability agreement) which was agreed to and signed by all parties involved.”

State Treasurer Andy DIllon at Detroit Financial Review Team meeting March 21, 2012.

Krystal Crittendon, corporation counsel for the city of Detroit, met Tuesday with state Treasurer Andy Dillon and members of Gov. Rick Snyder’s staff to discuss her opinion that the consent agreement is null and void, according to the paper.

City council approved the document in April with the support of the mayor, Dillon and Snyder. It allowed Detroit to avoid the appointment of an emergency manager.

But Crittendon argued in a May 11 letter sent to state officials that the agreement is not valid because Detroit’s city charter and Michigan law forbid the city from entering into agreements with parties that owe it outstanding debts. In that letter, Crittendon alleged the state owes Detroit $4.75 million for a water bill and $224 million in revenue sharing payments.

Crittendon is expected to bring the matter before an Ingham County Circuit Court judge, but has not yet given an indication of when she might file her case. State officials and some city officials remain undeterred.

In a written response on May 16, Dillon disagreed with Crittendon’s claims, saying the water bill was under dispute in an administrative hearing and that the state had no legal obligation to maintain revenue-sharing payments at a specific level.

Mayor Dave Bing (center, with the glassy-eyed stare) with Kirk Lewis (r) in photo released during his illness to prove he was still in the loop on Consent Agreement negotiations

Mayor Dave Bing told the Detroit News Wednesday he was eager to avoid tying up the city in litigation over the document.

“I’m not interested in getting into any legal battle that will distract us from executing my fiscal stability plan,” he told the News in a statement, adding that he would respect whatever decision was reached on the consent agreement’s legality. 

Related VOD stories at:

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/05/28/detroiters-begin-ethics-complaint-campaign-against-bing-councils-fatal-five-lewis-and-brown-over-consent-agreement/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/05/22/detroits-top-lawyer-to-take-pa-4-consent-agreement-to-court/

http://voiceofdetroit.net/2012/04/17/ok-whos-the-mayor-bing-lewis-or-barrow/


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