Gov. Rick Snyder named Washington, D.C., bankruptcy attorney Kevyn Orr as Detroit’s Emergency Financial Manager.
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From The Detroit News – Detroit — Gov. Rick Snyder made the unprecedented move Thursday to take control of the city’s operations by naming a candidate to become emergency manager for the state’s largest city.
Unconvinced by the appeal by city officials earlier this week, Snyder said he believes Detroit needs outside help to fix the longstanding financial issues. The Republican governor introduced Washington, D.C., bankruptcy attorney Kevyn Orr as his choice to lead the troubled city.
At 3 p.m., the Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board will officially name Orr over Detroit’s finances, as required by the 1990 financial emergency manager law.
“This is not about asking anyone to step aside, this is about asking for all hands on deck,” Snyder told the media during a press conference at Cadillac Place in the New Center area.
Snyder emphasized Thursday afternoon that Orr is still a “candidate” for emergency manager until the state loan board approves him. The board’s vote, however, is seen as a formality because its three members are Snyder’s appointees.
Orr has a range of financial and legal skills that will serve the city well, Snyder said.
“He’s one of the leading experts in the country, and I think we should be very pleased that we got someone of his high caliber to take this position,” Snyder said of Orr. “I don’t view this as an act of isolation.
“This is not about asking one individual to come in and turn around the city of Detroit. This is a problem that has now reached a true crisis point.”
Orr, who appeared at Thursday’s press conference with Mayor Dave Bing, said Detroit “is a beautiful city and a wonderful state that gave me my start. I feel compelled to do my part.”
He called fixing Detroit’s finances “the Olympics of restructuring,” and he looks forward to the challenge.
“If we can do this, I would have participated in one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of this country,” Orr said. “That is something I can tell my grandkids about.”
Orr, 54, a University of Michigan law school graduate, helped lead Chrysler through its 2009 bankruptcy. He has be a partner with the Jones Day law firm and specializes in corporate restructuring, bankruptcy, litigation, appeals and legal recruiting and diversity. Orr said Thursday he would resign his partnership with Jones Day.
Orr, who according to bankruptcy court records made $700 an hour during the bankruptcy, was the lead attorney on convincing the court to allow Chrysler to abruptly close a quarter of its U.S. dealerships. Chrysler told 789 dealers on May 14, 2009, they had to close in a month and transfer unsold inventory to other dealers.
“I’m prepared to be the most hated man for a period of time, but some of that vitriol will abate,” Orr said Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, City Council members decided against filing a lawsuit in a last-ditch effort to block the emergency manager from becoming the new boss at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.