Legal wrangling continues following Detroit's bankruptcy filing - New York News

Legal wrangling continues following Detroit's bankruptcy filing

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Spirit of Detroit statue outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center Spirit of Detroit statue outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
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    Friday, February 21 2014 11:35 AM EST2014-02-21 16:35:28 GMT
    Gov. Rick Snyder issued the following statement today on the filing of a plan of adjustment by  Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr that is part of the city's restructuring.
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DETROIT (WJBK) -

The spokesperson for Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said efforts to battle blight, improve lighting and increase trash removal are all underway despite the city's controversial bankruptcy filing and concern the city's workers will lose their pensions.

"We are still getting about the business of turning the city around even though we're in bankruptcy. None of that stuff is stopping," said Bill Nowling.

"I want to make sure that people understand they're going to continue to get pensions, but what we're talking about is the amount of under funded in the pensions, and we just have to deal with that. We have to come to an agreement on what that is, and we just have to move forward so people can know what to expect."

However, the city's pensioners, firefighters and police officers have taken action, filing an objection in federal Bankruptcy Court.

The Court of Appeals is now reviewing last week's ruling by an Ingham County judge that the bankruptcy filing was unconstitutional. She ordered Gov. Rick Snyder to withdraw it. A Monday morning hearing to find out why that has not happened was adjourned until next week.

"We have a governor who swore to take an oath to uphold the constitution, and unfortunately he's decided not to do that," said Richard Mack.

The labor attorney said by law, pension benefits cannot be impaired or diminished.

"It's money that you worked for and earned. It's your wage. That wage is yours, and if that's yours, you have a right to it per constitution," he said.

Mack said it is unfair to compare the city's 20,000 retirees to the bondholders.

"The bondholders get paid. The insurance companies get paid. At least let's treat Grandma Jones as well as Wall Street and the loan sharks and all the rest of them," he said.

"Generally, if you're an unsecured creditor you're supposed to be treated the same -- now here's the big exception -- unless there is a good reason," said John Pottow.

The University of Michigan law professor and bankruptcy expert said there can be exceptions, but right now it is still unclear how this current filing will hold up in court since a state judge has already declared it unconstitutional.

"Federal law is supreme. So under the supremacy clause of the Constitution, federal law trumps state law when there's a conflict between the two. With that said, you can't just ignore state laws," Pottow said.

Whatever the state Court of Appeals decides could be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the first hearing in federal Bankruptcy Court will be on Wednesday.

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  • Falling debris from Midtown building

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    Emergency personnel are responding to falling debris from a high-rise building in Midtown Manhattan. West 57th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues is closed. SkyFoxHD was overhead where pieces of glass could be seen on the ground and a window shattered. Two people were hit by the falling glass at about 8:45 a.m. and were taken to Roosevelt Hospital with minor injuries, according to police.

    Emergency personnel are responding to falling debris from a high-rise building in Midtown Manhattan. West 57th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues is closed. SkyFoxHD was overhead where pieces of glass could be seen on the ground and a window shattered. Two people were hit by the falling glass at about 8:45 a.m. and were taken to Roosevelt Hospital with minor injuries, according to police.

  • Arrest in attack on teen in elevator

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    Two thugs were caught on security camera footage beating a teenager and stealing from her inside an apartment building in the Midwood section of Brooklyn.  The NYPD says the attackers are seen dragging the 18-year-old out of an elevator into the hallway and punching and kicking her.
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  • City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

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    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:18 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:18:29 GMT
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
  • Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

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    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
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