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Conflicting interests?

The recent actions taken by the State of Michigan are troubling — their very nature goes against the will of the people. If the people do not like the actions of their elected officials, such officials should be removed from office and by force, if necessary.

When the citizens of Michigan repealed Public Act 4 in Nov. 2012, on Dec. 13, 2012 the Michigan Legislature, in a lame-duck session approved Public Act 436 which was identical in spirit and was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Dec. 27, 2012. PA 436 is invulnerable to repeal since it involves appropriations, according to state law. This law ushered in the emergency manager in Detroit.

This bypass, while seemingly legal, (is an assault on every) person’s sense of fair play and previously held maxim that voting is important.

Since the Legislature seems corrupt and the executive branch is dictating their conduct, the only hope lies with the judicial branch.

I have faith in the judicial branch’s reading ability. The hiring of Kevyn Orr is a blatant case of conflict of interest. So much so that I believe this will be a litmus test for judicial integrity.

Imagine you are an attorney. A potential client comes to you, asking for assistance in resolving a debt. You ask, well how much and whom do you owe? The client replies I owe this much, (I think). You immediately realize that the creditors  are also your clients. Being an ethical lawyer, you decline, stating that you represent  the creditor and that would be an obvious case of conflict of interest.

Your client, not being an expert attorney like you, asks why can’t you help me? I don’t understand why not, Mr. Big Shot $700-per-hour -attorney. You merely reach for your well-read, dog-eared copy of the esteemed Black’s Law Dictionary. You turn the page to this definition of conflict of interest:

1. A real or seeming incompatibility between one’s private interests and one’s public or fiduciary duties.

2. A real or seeming incompatibility between the interests of two of a lawyer’s clients, such that the lawyer is disqualified from representing both clients if the dual representation adversely affects either or if the clients do not consent.

You politely state you are trying to get money on behalf of your client, and your client is suing the potential new client sitting across from you. That’s easy enough to see, right? The potential client nods his head, in tearful affirmation of this infantile logic that would not puzzle an idiot.

Later, you ask the potential client: would you like our law firm to work on your debt problem, in an advisor capacity? The client asks, Won’t the other party object? I thought you represent them, you know, the people I owe? No, they will not object, you confidently reply. You point out the dictionary and inform him: My other clients (gave consent.) Then, you quit your job and work directly for the client. You will be compensated $275, 000 annually. You resign from the law firm, absorbing a huge pay cut, (wink) to work this new job. Meanwhile, your old law firm (double wink) accepts a contract capped at $475,000 a month for a total of 18 months. What about mixing personal and fiduciary duties? You smile wickedly and sneer, What about it?

If the City of Detroit hiring Kevyn Orr does not represent a conflict of interest, then say goodbye to any sense of justice in the State of Michigan.

Robert Walker

Southfield, Michigan


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