Detroit files documents in bankruptcy

7:16 AM, Jul 19, 2013   |    comments
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Aerial view of downtown Detroit. (Courtesy: Mary Schroeder/Detroit Free Press)

(Detroit Free Press) -- The city of Detroit filed thousands of pages of documents in its bankruptcy case late Thursday, as Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr builds a case that the city is insolvent and must execute a dramatic restructuring with the court's support.

Orr restated his case that the city cannot pay its bills and has nearly $20 billion in liabilities.

(Our Gannett partner, the Detroit Free Press, has more coverage of the Detroit financial crisis.)

Among the documents are more than 3,000 pages listing all of the city's creditors, which number more than 100,000.

The list includes the names of all of the city's active employees and its retirees, a list of properties that have tax claims with the city, numerous bondholders, business creditors and companies that insured Detroit debt.

One of the most important documents is a list of the city's top 20 creditors.

The city's largest creditors are the General Retirement System of the City of Detroit ($2.037 billion in unfunded liabilities), the Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit ($1.437 billion in unfunded and accrued pension liabilities), U.S. Bank N.A. as a trustee for pension certificate holders ($801 million), U.S. Bank as a trustee for other pension certificates ($516 million), U.S. Bank as trustee for other pension liabilities ($153 million), U.S. Bank as a bond registrar and transfer agent ($100 million in unlimited tax general obligation bonds) and U.S. Bank as bond registrar and transfer agent ($73.5 billion in limited tax general obligation capital improvement bonds).

Late Thursday, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan added a tab to the center of its web site titled "City of Detroit Bankruptcy Filing."

Those that click on the tab will learn the actual case number assigned to Detroit's filing, the process for appointing the judge and how to access the documents.

However, to actually access the documents, people must register with the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system. Anyone seeking access to PACER must register with the PACER service Center at: http://www.pacer.psc.uscourts.gov. A fee of 10 cents per page is charged for electronic access to court data.

The court also said it will soon set up a separate Web site for the case.

While much of the information in tonight's document dump repeats grim financial facts already made public, the documents are telling in areas where things have not changed.

Notably, city has not changed its preliminary estimate that the pension funds are underfunded by $3.5 billion.

And for those worried about the city's works of arts and other treasures, an exhibit explains that the emergency manager continues to evaluate the value of the city's assets to determine how to "maximize" their value but at this time "no decisions have been made regarding any particular asset."

By Nathan Bomey, Brent Snavely and Alisa Priddle, Detroit Free Press staff writers

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