TEST: Governor, Detroit EFM Explain Bankruptcy

By Peter Neumann
By Jorge Avellan

July 19, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2013 at 4:49 PM EDT

DETROIT, Mi. (My TV20 News at 10) --- Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr this morning explained what's ahead for the city now that Detroit has declared bankruptcy.

It is the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

In a morning news conference, Governor Snyder offered a stunning admission that many people owed money by the city may never be paid.

EFM Orr says Detroit is over $12-billion in debt.

Orr says the city will continue to provide services, 'write checks' and pay bills and operate as it has been under his oversight as the city's emergency financial manager. He says bankruptcy 'gives us breathing room' from the onslaught of lawsuits by creditors. Says Orr, "it's a tool in our tool box."

Owed nearly a combined $3.5 billion are the city's General Retirement Fund and the Police & Fire Retirement Systems. These pension funds are at the top of the list of creditors and stand to lose the most.

Orr says bankruptcy was the only option, but that he is "happy to listen to another plan that people can come up with.... it gives us a forum to bring all interested parties in... including the retirees" whose pension plans will be particularly hard hit.

Some reports have it that pension plans will be paid only 10-cents on the dollar.

Says Orr, the city's priority is to maintain the welfare of the 750,000 people who live in Detroit, who "don't deserve endemic blight or slow response times."

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