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Detroit Consent Agreement Challenge Expected To Go Before Judge, State's Position Remains Unchanged

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File photo. Detroit's top lawyer recently spoke with state officials regarding a possible challenge to legality of Detroit's consent agreement. A Treasury Department spokesman says they intend to honor the terms of the contract. (AP)
File photo. Detroit's top lawyer recently spoke with state officials regarding a possible challenge to legality of Detroit's consent agreement. A Treasury Department spokesman says they intend to honor the terms of the contract. (AP)

Michigan officials have heard Detroit's top lawyer make her case against the legality of the city's consent agreement with the state, but they say they will stand by the terms of the contract.

"There has been no change in our position," Treasury spokesman Terry Stanton told the Free Press. "We continue to be focused on implementing components of the (financial stability agreement) which was agreed to and signed by all parties involved."

Krystal Crittendon, corporation counsel for the city of Detroit, met Tuesday with state Treasurer Andy Dillon and members of Gov. Rick Snyder's staff to discuss her opinion that the consent agreement is null and void, according to the paper.

City council approved the document in April with the support of the mayor, Dillon and Snyder. It allowed Detroit to avoid the appointment of an emergency manager.

But Crittendon argued in a May 11 letter sent to state officials that the agreement is not valid because Detroit's city charter and Michigan law forbid the city from entering into agreements with parties that owe it outstanding debts. In that letter, Crittendon alleged the state owes Detroit $4.75 million for a water bill and $224 million in revenue sharing payments.

Crittendon is expected to bring the matter before an Ingham County Circuit Court judge, but has not yet given an indication of when she might file her case. State officials and some city officials remain undeterred.

In a written response on May 16, Dillon disagreed with Crittendon's claims, saying the water bill was under dispute in an administrative hearing and that the state had no legal obligation to maintain revenue-sharing payments at a specific level.

Mayor Dave Bing told the Detroit News Wednesday he was eager to avoid tying up the city in litigation over the document.

"I'm not interested in getting into any legal battle that will distract us from executing my fiscal stability plan," he told the News in a statement, adding that he would respect whatever decision was reached on the consent agreement's legality.

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