It’s the day many in Detroit have been waiting for, whether they liked it or not. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to announce Kevyn D. Orr, 54, a partner in Jones Day, a Cleveland-based law firm, as Detroit’s emergency manager on March 14, 2 p.m, in the Cadillac Building in Detroit, according to sources familiar with the preparations for this major seismic shift in Detroit’s governance structure.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is among those expected to be at the announcement when Orr, a successful African American lawyer who is a graduate of the University of Michigan law school, is named the new leader to lead the financial restructuring process for Detroit.
According to the Jones Day website, Orr “has practiced in the areas of business restructuring, financial institution regulation, and commercial litigation since 1984. Throughout his career he has demonstrated the ability to handle all aspects of complex and precedent-setting matters and has successfully tried numerous jury trials to verdict.”
He has served as “both the chief government legal officer of a failed financial institution and a special master to oversee the operations of a real estate development firm. He also has assisted clients with government RFPs and inspector general audits.”
Orr works out of Washington, DC.
Most notably, Orr, who has roots in Detroit, was one of the lead attorneys during the Chrysler bankruptcy process.
“Representative matters include counseling and representing: Chrysler LLC with regard to all aspects of its bankruptcy, URS/WGI against claims by the Department of Justice for alleged FAA/FCA and related common law contract claims, health care financier National Century Financial Enterprises in its bankruptcy and asserting that company’s claims in the health care provider bankruptcies of PhyAmerica Corporation and DCHC/Greater Southeast Hospital, Laidlaw Corporation in its defense of a $1 billion claim by the purchaser of its environmental cleanup division, investment banks and advisors in bankruptcy matters, and sellers and bidders in bankruptcy-related auctions,” the Jones Day’s website reads.
Orr has also testified before Congress on bankruptcy and financial institution regulation.
His announcement tomorrow is coming on the heels of the Detroit City Council’s failed bid to convince Gov. Snyder that local officials in Detroit can avert a financial crisis on their own and that they have a plan to do so.
Sources also indicate that Mayor Bing has already met Orr and had conversation with the new manager about what the mayor’s role would be in this new era.
In an interview with the Michigan Chronicle this week, Bing made it clear he won’t be around if he doesn’t have the power to effect change and carry out his plans under an EM.
It remains to be seen what Orr would do and how he would see council’s role in this new government structure that has met significant opposition as well as support from all sides of the political equation.