Detroit Emergency Manager on Politics: Case Has 'Done Me In"

Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 11:19 AM


  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr had political ambitions - once.

But just over a year after taking on what is now the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, the experienced bankruptcy attorney says any notions he had of running for public office have been eradicated.

"This has erased any political aspirations, dead or barely alive, that I ever had, and I was a political science major," Orr said. "This has done me in."

When Orr began his career in the 1980s as a trial attorney in the rough-and-tumble world of Florida's Miami-Dade County, he thought he might one day run for public office, he told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

To be sure, Orr, 55, has not voiced interest in any particular public office. But with a decade of federal government service to his credit and now running a major American city, he could be an appealing candidate for either party.

"You have to be willing to stand there and deal with some of the irrational behavior, just slings and arrows for no reason, and be willing to keep true north and keep doing it," he said, fielding questions with an eye on two cellphones in front of him - one for his wife, and one for everyone else.

Orr was appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in March 2013 to devise a rescue plan for the Motor City, which has suffered a rapid outflow of population and has about $18 billion of debt and liabilities. He filed Detroit's bankruptcy case in July.

As an African-American, a Democrat and the head of the diversity task force at Jones Day, Orr filled some of the likely prerequisites for an emergency manager imposed on a predominantly black, heavily Democratic city by a white, Republican governor.

Though unelected, Orr holds enormous sway over the city's future. His plan, which is still being negotiated with creditors and must ultimately win a judge's approval, proposes significant losses for creditors, ranging from pension funds to bondholders.

Orr told Reuters he was unlikely to take on other major Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy cases in future.

"You probably won't see me in this kind of gig again," the restructuring expert said. "I think I've had my fill."

He's fought tough battles before. He was counsel at the Resolution Trust Corp, the federal agency set up to mop up the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and early '90s.

He was chief counsel to the RTC during the Whitewater investigation, a high-profile probe into the collapse of a thrift with connections to former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Later, as a private-practice attorney for the law firm Jones Day, Orr represented automaker Chrysler during its bankruptcy, which he described as "politically explosive."

But the Detroit case has also focused him on what he feels are his true talents.

"I really enjoy the financial aspects and restructuring and strategy," he said.

Still, his time in Detroit is beginning to run out, with less than six months left in his current job. After that he has just one plan: A "long vacation on a warm island" with his wife.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Newt Gingrich: Sony Hack Is America's First Cyberwar Defeat

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 22:43 PM

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says Sony Pictures' decision to cancel the release of the movie "The Interview" in th . . .

Obama Commutes Sentences of 8 Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 22:31 PM

President Barack Obama is cutting short the sentences of eight federal drug offenders, including four who were set to di . . .

MLK III: It's 'Insanity' to Say 'Kill the Cops'

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 22:03 PM

Martin Luther King III, son of the civil rights icon, told Fox News on Wednesday that he doesn't think most of the peopl . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved