Lawyers wrapping case in Detroit bankruptcy trial - New York News

Lawyers wrapping case in Detroit bankruptcy trial

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    Detroit's emergency financial manager filed a plan Friday that would bring the city out of bankruptcy, providing a detailed look at what the Motor City would look like when it finally sheds its financial burdens.
    Detroit's emergency financial manager filed a plan Friday that would bring the city out of bankruptcy, providing for the first time a detailed look at what the Motor City would look like when it finally sheds its financial burdens.
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    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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    On Tuesday, the city of Detroit asked a federal judge to approve its deal to borrow up to $350 million to help the city pay off some of its debts and to provide city services.
    On Tuesday, the city of Detroit asked a federal judge to approve its deal to borrow up to $350 million to help the city pay off some of its debts and to provide city services.

DETROIT (AP) -- Objectors to a Detroit bankruptcy are confusing careful and deliberate planning by state officials with pursuing bankruptcy at all costs, attorneys representing Detroit's state-appointed manager argued Friday.

They "want to punish the governor and treasurer for contingency planning, for doing their jobs," said lawyer Matthew Schneider, the state's chief legal counsel. "This was never about predetermining a Chapter 9 filing. This was only about careful consideration."

Attorneys representing Detroit's state-appointed manager were making their final case on Friday to a federal judge who will determine if the city can fix its finances in bankruptcy. Final arguments are continuing throughout the day from the city, retiree groups, unions and pension funds.

The city in July became the largest municipality in the U.S to file for Chapter 9 protection, but Judge Steven Rhodes gets the final say on whether Detroit is eligible for a restructuring overseen by the court. Critics claim emergency manager Kevyn Orr wanted bankruptcy for months and didn't want to try good-faith negotiations before filing.

But Schneider told Rhodes that the bankruptcy filing was always a "last resort" and contingency planning doesn't "mean you want the storm to come."

Rhodes said he found it "factually impossible" for attorneys representing Orr to conclude that negotiation with creditors was "impracticable" while arguing they negotiated in good faith with them.

Attorney Bruce Bennett said he disagreed, and noted that it's widely understood that reaching an out-of-court settlement is a "great thing" but "extremely difficult." He said a proposal for creditors released in June and subsequent meetings with them laid out in great detail the city's financial problems -- which nobody disputed -- and prescriptions for solving them, but no group came forward with a credible counterproposal.

"Nobody was hiding the ball," he said. "Everyone understood that negotiations were likely to fail."

Sharon Levine, an attorney representing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is expected to lead off closing arguments for lawyers representing bankruptcy on Friday afternoon. She previously argued that talks between Detroit and its unions should have lasted months, not weeks, and the city spent months plotting a path to Chapter 9 instead of seeking compromise that could keep it out of bankruptcy.

Orr, a bankruptcy expert who was appointed emergency manager last March by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, has said Detroit has at least $18 billion in long-term debt, including $3.5 billion in pension shortfalls.

If Detroit is found eligible to stay in bankruptcy, the case would turn to how to solve the debt. The city has said it could propose a plan by the end of the year. Meanwhile, a team of mediators has been meeting with all sides in the hope of reaching an out-of-court compromise.

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  • Rifle seized after squirrel shooting in Milford

    Rifle seized after squirrel shooting in Milford

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:48 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:48:12 GMT
    Connecticut State NewsConnecticut State News
    Police say they found an unregistered assault rifle and three large-capacity magazines in the home of a Milford man accused of shooting a squirrel.  James Toigo has been charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, cruelty to an animal, reckless endangerment, breach of peace, failure to register an assault rifle and possessing large-capacity magazines.
    Police say they found an unregistered assault rifle and three large-capacity magazines in the home of a Milford man accused of shooting a squirrel.  James Toigo has been charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, cruelty to an animal, reckless endangerment, breach of peace, failure to register an assault rifle and possessing large-capacity magazines.
  • Harlem politician Basil Paterson dead

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    Basil Paterson, the father of former New York Governor David Paterson, died Wednesday night at the age of 87. The trailblazing Democratic politician from Harlem served in the state Senate, as deputy mayor of New York City, as secretary of state of New York and was appointed by the New York Senate as a commissioner of the Port Authority of NY and NJ. In 1970, he ran for lieutenant governor, the second black nominee of a major party for statewide office in New York.
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  • Fund raises thousands for exonerated NYC man

    Fund raises thousands for exonerated NYC man

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:20 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:20:44 GMT
    A recently exonerated New York man who spent nearly 25 years behind bars for a killing that happened while he was at Disney World is getting help from dozens of well-wishers contributing to an online fund for him. About 70 people gave a total of more than $3,400 to the campaign for Jonathan Fleming by Wednesday. Fleming was released last week after a judge dismissed the 1989 case, with Brooklyn prosecutors' assent.
    A recently exonerated New York man who spent nearly 25 years behind bars for a killing that happened while he was at Disney World is getting help from dozens of well-wishers contributing to an online fund for him. About 70 people gave a total of more than $3,400 to the campaign for Jonathan Fleming by Wednesday. Fleming was released last week after a judge dismissed the 1989 case, with Brooklyn prosecutors' assent.
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