DETROIT Dec 4 Organizations that objected to
Detroit's bankruptcy separately asked the U.S. judge overseeing
the case late on Wednesday to allow an appeal of the case to go
directly to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Groups led by Detroit's largest union - Michigan Council 25
of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
Employees - and the city's two pension funds filed requests
with the bankruptcy court to bypass the U.S. District Court for
the Eastern District of Michigan and go directly to the appeals
"The Sixth Circuit eventually will decide whether the City
is eligible to be a Chapter 9 debtor," attorneys representing
the pension funds wrote in their motion. "The only question is
timing. Because time is manifestly of the essence, this Court
should certify its eligibility ruling for an immediate appeal to
the Sixth Circuit."
AFSCME in another filing had previously asked U.S.
Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, who is overseeing the case, to
allow an appeal directly to the 6th Circuit, but in his ruling
on Tuesday Rhodes said any motions for a direct appeal must be
separately submitted to the bankruptcy court.
Proceedings will continue in the bankruptcy court even as
the case is appealed. Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr said
Tuesday that the city plans to submit its restructuring plan to
the court for approval by early January.
Rhodes on Tuesday said Detroit was eligible for bankruptcy
because it was insolvent and negotiations with its thousands of
creditors were not practical. [ID: nL2N0JI1QS]
The judge also said that Detroit could cut pensions as part
of its restructuring, turning back an argument from the unions,
pension funds and retirees objecting to the bankruptcy by
asserting that pensions were protected by the Michigan
Detroit, with $18.5 billion in debt, is the largest U.S.
city ever to go bankrupt. Rhodes on Tuesday declared Detroit
eligible in a more than hour-long oral decision. He has yet to
issue a written opinion.