3 journalists, 3 points on the time line, $18 million and rising plus future opportunities for Orr’s law firm, which can now be seen by all (even Judge Rhodes) as the centerpiece of the neoliberal white restructuring, and innumerable very lucrative lies later…
Mark Binelli in NYT, May 2013, “Detroit’s Davos:”
“The hope is that Mr. Orr, who worked as a lead attorney on Chrysler’s managed bankruptcy, will be able to prevent Detroit from entering Chapter 9. Yet in one of his first acts, he signed off on the hiring of his own former law firm, Jones Day, to help restructure Detroit’s long-term debt — despite the fact that Jones Day already represents some of the very banks holding said debt, including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.
Indeed, the least surprising development to anyone following Detroit’s woes has been Wall Street’s continued ability to squeeze money out of a city that can’t afford to keep its streetlights on or police its neighborhoods…”
Curt Guyette in MT, April 2014, “Anatomy of a Takeover:”
“Throughout their depositions and court testimony, Gov. Snyder, then-Treasurer Dillon, Orr, and Buckfire repeatedly and emphatically denied that they were actively planning to pursue Chapter 9 bankruptcy for the city. What they did say is that, if it was discussed at all, bankruptcy was only seen a last resort and that they were simply being responsible stewards of the public trust by preparing for all contingencies just in case other efforts failed to keep Detroit solvent. That remained their public posture throughout the first half of 2013. Although that story remained consistent, the new year brought some big changes. …
As the Bing administration was imposing furloughs and health-care cuts on some staff and negotiating benefits cuts with others, the city, acting at the direction of the state, signed a $1.8 million no-bid contract with Miller Buckfire. In addition to its role as an investment banker, one of the first tasks it assumed was a key role in the selection of a law firm that would take the lead in the city’s restructuring efforts.
Even though Miller Buckfire was technically employed by the city, it was state Treasurer Dillon who wanted the firm to be involved in the selection process, Kenneth Buckfire testified during an August 2013 deposition.
Five law firms were invited to make a pitch to state and city officials who had gathered at a hotel at Detroit Metro Airport to interview the various candidates on Jan. 29. Jones Day was one of those five firms, and Kevyn Orr, a bankruptcy expert who had worked on the Chrysler bankruptcy, was part of the delegation.
One day before that meeting, Miller Buckfire sent Jones Day attorney Corinne Ball an email that she shared with Orr. That email was entered into evidence in the bankruptcy proceedings, and Orr was asked about it on the witness stand. The email referenced “questions that Miller Buckfire has drafted for the interview.”
“You see that?” Orr was asked by Lynn Brimer, an attorney for the Retired Detroit Police Members Association. “Yes.”
“So the Jones Day team had the interview questions prior to the interview. Is that what we can interpret from this?” “I don’t know that,” Orr responded. “You could interpret that.” That same email also strongly advised the Jones Day pitch team not to disclose that it had secretly been assisting the state the previous year in matters such as the consent agreement, putting in 1,000 hours of work it didn’t charge for.
Matt Helms in Detroit Free Press, May 23, 2014:
“U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes questioned Jones Day lawyers during a hearing Thursday, asking what impact a delay in the schedule of the bankruptcy case would have on the high-priced law firm the city hired. …
Rhodes appeared concerned about whether such a delay would push the ultimate resolution of Detroit’s bankruptcy beyond the tenure of the state-appointed emergency manager, whose 18-month term is set to end in late September, when city officials have the legal option to vote to fire Orr under Michigan’s emergency manager law.
Rhodes asked whether Jones Day, the law firm hired by the city under former Mayor Dave Bing, would stay on after Orr is gone. Greg Shumaker, a Jones Day lawyer, acknowledged that the uncertainty about that matter “could be dramatic.” But he told the judge: “We have not talked to the mayor or the City Council about that issue.”
“I’m surprised by that,” Rhodes said. He then asked Shumaker whether the goal of ending Detroit’s bankruptcy case before Orr leaves sets up deadlines that might conflict with sound practices in bankruptcy court. Shumaker concurred. …
As of last fall, Jones Day’s contract with the city had been approved up to $18 million, among the largest fees charged by lawyers and consulting firms addressing [exploiting] Detroit’s financial collapse. ”