While the true cost of Detroit’s bankruptcy won’t be known likely for months, one local media outlet has jumpstarted its investigation into at least a preliminary estimate based on what’s been submitted to the fee examiner in the case. (The fee examiner, who is appointed by the court, reviews billings for professional fees and submits to the judge a critique of the reasonableness of them.)
WXYZ-Channel 7′s Jim Kiertzner, an investigative reporter, and Adam Brewster, a producer, have been reviewing thousands of pages of attorneys fees and expenses charged to the city in the case.
Here’s Kiertzner’s first report, which aired Nov. 14. The second, found here, aired a few days later. Their findings are, well, you decide the adjective. The station is calling the ongoing series of reports the “Bankruptcy Bonanza.”
One attorney charged $450 to WALK from the Westin Book Cadillac to Detroit’s federal courthouse. A block away.
Jones Day attorneys, working at the firm where Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has been a partner, billed for chauffered rides from Cleveland.
Kiertzner got a microphone in front of Gov. Rick Snyder to ask if the state would chip in for the expenses, which could approach $200 million when the trial is counted. Here’s that report.
For his part, Mayor Mike Duggan tells the Channel 7 reporter that the city will “fight hard” against the fees, calling these early billings the “tip of the iceberg.”
Does that make the city’s taxpayers, who are ultimately footing the bill, the proverbial Titanic? We’ll ask Kiertzner, he’ll be on WDET’s Detroit Today program Wednesday.