A partner with Jones Day law firm based in Washington DC lashed out at Detroit's mayor after Mike Duggan said he planned to sue former emergency manager Kevyn Orr and his team for keeping him in the dark during bankruptcy proceedings.
Duggan's argument stems from the range of assumptions used to project future pension payments. But in the letter dated February 23, Stephen Brogan called the lawsuit baseless and the allegations contrived.
He attacks Duggan saying if the case moves forward, "it is designed only to serve the venal interests of a political hack who has placed personal animus and self- interest ahead of the truth" and that "No mayor in the history of this country has received the assistance that the plan of adjustment gave Detroit by removing $7 billion dollars in liabilities from its balance sheet."
"It was tactless, unnecessary, they don't live here, they don't vote here," said Steve Hood, a political consultant and Detroit political insider. "It is not germane to the issue whatsoever what they think about the man - whether there are merits to the case or not - if they would have been as zealous as they were in that letter than looking over the actuary tables, we wouldn't be here we wouldn't have a $490 million hole."
Hood says many leaders including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees warned Jones Day and the judge the numbers didn't add up. He agrees Mayor Duggan should file the lawsuit, but went about it the wrong way by going up against a powerful law firm, which now has another partner acting as an advisor to President Donald Trump.
"Duggan is right on, in terms of fighting Jones Day," said Hood. "I don't know if I would have messed with the president's council. I would have just gone ahead and sued him."
In response attorney David Fink, who represents the city on this matter, issued a statement. In part it says:
"Mayor Mike Duggan and CFO John Hill have stated that they were not informed or briefed regarding the risks associated with the mortality tables and other factors that lead to inadequate funding of the city's pensions under the plan of adjustment. While there is a fair amount of name-calling in the Jones Day letter, nothing in that letter contradicts the statements of the mayor and the CFO."
With 30 days left until the filing deadline for Detroit mayoral candidates, Hood believes all this letter does is help Duggan's opponents.
"That is just giving ammunition to his competitors who are just trying to hurt the guy," he said.