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City lawyer says EM in office illegally

Krystal Crittendon

Krystal Crittendon

DETROIT — City attorney Krystal Crittendon, who was a mayoral candidate in the recent primary election, called Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s comments that Detroiters are “dumb, lazy, happy and rich,” published last week in the Wall Street Journal, a blessing in disguise.

“For Orr to go as far as he did to show this level of disrespect for Detroiters is a blessing in disguise … The things that we know certain people feel about us in Detroit was revealed publicly.”

Crittendon, who was demoted earlier this year for challenging the mayor and council on the legality of the Consent Agreement between the city and the state, said there is legal recourse to remove Orr from his position as EM.

“The problem is our mayor and our city council have not availed themselves to those legal avenues,” she told the Michigan Citizen following a press conference Aug. 6 calling for Orr’s removal.

Crittendon says Orr was appointed under a law that did not exist — Public Act 72, the predecessor to the emergency manager law PA 4, which was repealed by over two million Michiganders in November 2012.

In December 2012, during a lame-duck session, a new EM bill was passed, led by Republican legislators and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder weeks later. The law — PA 436 — went into affect in March of this year.

“Public Act 72 did not spring back into life when Public Act 4 was repealed.  That is a lie,” says Crittendon. “Michigan law is very clear on that.”

Crittendon maintains that because PA 72 could not have been in effect legally, Orr could not have been grandfathered in under the new law, 436, and has no authority to do anything on behalf of the city of Detroit.

“He cannot file this bankruptcy; he cannot take any action on behalf of the city of Detroit,” she said.

More importantly, she says, if Orr did have authority to file for bankruptcy under PA 436, once he filed, the code for bankruptcy under federal law says it is the local elected officials of the municipality who have to declare bankruptcy, not a state appointee — or emergency manager.

Although state legal challenges have been stayed regarding the EM law and actions of EM Orr, federal suits are still pending, challenging the constitutionality of what many Michiganders call the “dictator law.”

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