creditors seek dump trucks, nuclear research from
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[June 25, 2014]
(Reuters) - As if it's not
bad enough that Detroit acknowledges it owes its
creditors $18 billion, another batch of would-be
creditors says the city owes them much more, for garbage
trucks worth $150 million to nuclear research materials
valued at an alleged $1 trillion.
The city disputes those claims - along with several others scheduled
for a hearing on Wednesday before U.S. Judge Steven Rhodes, who is
presiding over Detroit's bankruptcy.
The biggest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history is chock full
of more customary creditors: city unions and pension funds,
bondholders and businesses. But on Wednesday, Detroit's attorneys
will ask Judge Rhodes to disallow claims from creditors who have not
provided evidence to back up their demands.
For example, Albert O'Rourke of Oceanside, California, in February
filed the claim for $1 trillion. He claimed the city had lost or
destroyed "Manhattan Project" nuclear research materials housed in
property he owns in Detroit. The amount is based on the price tag
for building various nuclear weapons and devices related to the
missing materials, O'Rourke's filing stated.
City lawyers have no choice but to take such claims at face value
and respond in sober, lawyerly prose.
"Based on the information in the claim and response, the city cannot
even determine what the materials are, whether they exist, where
they are located and if they exist, who owns them," Detroit said in
a June 20 court filing objecting to O'Rourke's claim.
A claim filed by Rickie Allen Holt on behalf of the Aboriginal
Indigenous Peoples wants $7 billion in damages because Detroit
failed to secure the peoples' "expressed permission" to file for
Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in July 2013.
Detroit resident Lucinda Darrah in February claimed the city owes
her $150 million for the purchase of garbage trucks so residents can
manage their own trash disposal. In a hand-written response earlier
this month to the city's objection to her claim, Darrah increased
the demand to $450 million, to compensate her for harmful pollution
from a city incinerator.
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Not all of the claims run to the hundreds of millions of dollars and
beyond. One filed by Detroit resident Edward Gildyard seeks a tidy
$2 million for "services performed," without elaboration.
Adam Woodberry wants $1 million because the "city took real property
without paying just compensation."
Wednesday's hearing comes as Detroit's case heads toward the Aug. 14
start of hearing during which the city will defend the fairness and
feasibility of its plan to exit bankruptcy after adjusting $18
billion of debt.
Or perhaps considerably more than that amount, depending on how
Judge Rhodes rules.
(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by David Greising and Dan
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