DETROIT – The close to 700,000 residents of the city of Detroit were told today they may not have to move out of their city just yet, as emergency manager Kevyn Orr filed for bankruptcy on behalf of the beleaguered municipality, halting the foreclosure process just as Bank of America, Citibank, and others were arriving to install new locks on the city.
“They were driving over Ambassador Bridge from Ontario with a Canadian locksmith, all set to kick everyone out and change the locks when Kevyn put in the paperwork,” said Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. “Once he had the official bankruptcy notification, the poor guy had to hoof it all the way to the bridge where he dove in front of the locksmith guy’s truck just in time, waving the automatic stay notification in the air all the while.”
If it is determined that Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 protection, the city’s bankruptcy will become the largest of its kind in U.S. History. It is estimated that the city has debts and liabilities as high as $20 billion, though it swears Dupont, Michigan owes it between $3 or $4 billion, it’s totally expecting a cool $700 million in Federal Race to the Top money any day now, and if the Tigers can hold on in the AL Central it would get another half-million, easy.
“I tell you, when [Governor] Snyder appointed me, I had no idea what I was getting into,” said Orr, who was appointed emergency manager of Detroit by Governor Snyder back in March and given authority over the city’s democratically-elected government. “I mean Christ on a crutch! The city was in seriously bad shape and the repo men just kept showing up at the door. First they’d take a couple of streetlights, then a post office, then a school. Finally I was like, screw it! Time to go bankrupt before they take the Lions!”
One question still in the air is what will happen to the pensions earned over the decades by the city’s workers. A group representing those pensions had been preparing to take Detroit to court over the city’s attempt to yank that money away from the workers. An attorney for the pension funds said he felt blindsided because he agreed to delay an emergency hearing by five minutes at the request of attorneys for Governor Snyder, only to discover that the bankruptcy petition was then filed during those five minutes, effectively halting any possible legal action on behalf of the pensioners.
“Yeah, that was a close one,” admitted Orr.
It is not clear what the future holds in store for Detroit, aside from the fact that their credit rating will be in the gutter for years to come. However, Orr chose to look at the bright side. “When our auto industry was failing, America stood up for us and bailed us out. I think they’ll do it again.”
“At least, that’s sort of the plan,” he added.