Congressman John Conyers holds bankruptcy forum in Detroit - New York News

Congressman John Conyers holds bankruptcy forum in Detroit

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DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) held a forum Saturday to discuss legal and other implications of Detroit's bankruptcy filing. The forum took place at Fellowship Chapel in Detroit.

Click on the video player to watch Randy Wimbley's report.

Democracy in Detroit is under attack says Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. The sociology professor from Georgetown University served as moderator for the forum. The gloves were off and many on the panel assembled by Congressman Conyers didn't pull punches. They railed on Detroit's Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing and the appointment of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

"There are cities in Oakland County that have a point system that qualifies them for an Emergency Manager but they did not have the imposition of one," said Rev. Wendell Anthony, president of the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP.

Many believe Orr's appointment and the bankruptcy filing are part of a conspiracy, a right-wing takeover of a predominantly black city.

"The issues have nothing to do with resolving a financial crisis," said City Council member JoAnn Watson. "Why don't you pay your bills state of Michigan if you want to resolve a crisis?"

One way Orr wants to balance Detroit's books is by drastically cutting pensions for retirees. UM law professor John Pottow has heard the arguments.

"Well we have to ask for the same concessions from the pension holders that we're asking of the bondholders," he said. "You'll hear that all the time but I don't think that's an accurate statement under bankruptcy law."

Congressman Conyers says creating a law to protect city workers pensions is now one of his top priorities in Washington as well as getting Detroit the money it needs to crack down on crime.

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