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Judge rejects Crittendon’s legal challenge to Detroit consent agreement for 2nd time

Judge rejects Crittendon’s legal challenge to Detroit consent agreement for 2nd time

By Matt Helms
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

An Ingham County Judge has again rejected the effort by Detroit’s top city lawyer to fight the fiscal stability agreement as a violation of state law and Detroit’s city charter.

Judge William Collette wrote in his ruling that he found no basis for revisiting his decision to toss out Crittendon’s legal challenge to the consent agreement.

Crittendon had argued that the agreement violated laws against entering Detroit into contracts with parties in default to it; some city officials say the state owes Detroit $224 million in revenue sharing and other unpaid bills and therefore should not be allowed to proceed with the deal that gave state oversight of city finances but prevented appointment of a city manager.

Crittendon had support of a majority of the City Council but was opposed by Mayor Dave Bing, who unsuccessfully urged the council to demote her from her position as corporation counsel to a civil service position in the city’s Law Department.

Crittendon could not be reached for comment immediately this morning.

Mayor Bing released a statement this afternoon.

”I continue to be disappointed in Corporate Counsel’s effort to derail the Financial Stability Agreement with this unnecessary litigation.

“The city’s financing continues to be stalled by legal challenges of the FSA, impeding our progress to fiscally stabilize the city.

”Corporation Counsel’s actions have cost the city money – as of June 27 the city’s interest rate on its $80 million bond has increased from 2.8% to 6.25 %, increasing the city’s borrowing cost by an additional $10,000 per day – and further jeopardizing the city’s revenue-sharing payments from the state.

”I want to thank Judge William Collette for ruling quickly on this motion of reconsideration.”

It was not clear whether Crittendon would seek an appeal of the ruling.

She has said she is acting according to Detroit’s revised 2012 charter that gives her the responsibility to pursue – with legal action if necessary – violations of the city charter even without the approval of the council or Bing. Critics say her actions are endanger the consent agreement and have cost Detroit millions in higher borrowing costs through a credit downgrade blamed in part on the uncertainty over her lawsuit.

Legal experts say Detroit’s charter appears to be unique in Michigan in giving the city’s top lawyer authority to file suit without the support of the city’s top elected officials.

Contact Matt Helms: mhelms@freepress.com, @matthelms or  313-222-1450.

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