DETROIT (AP) — A judge told a courtroom packed with lawyers Tuesday that deals between Detroit and its creditors would be better than years of “horrendous” litigation in the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Eastern Michigan’s chief federal judge, Gerald Rosen, opened the first formal round of mediation by giving a pep talk and introducing other experts who will work with the city and its creditors to try to reach settlements while the bankruptcy case moves separately through court.
“I take this assignment with buoyancy and hope,” Rosen told attorneys as he stood in the well of the courtroom, down from his usual seat on the bench.
Detroit insists it can’t afford its long-term debt of about $18 billion while the city’s population and tax base shrink.
Rosen said instant agreements would be unrealistic, but he urged all sides to talk frequently about how to strike a deal. He said “years of litigation, disputing issues in the courts, is horrendous.”
Reporters were allowed inside the courtroom for Rosen’s remarks and the introduction of other mediators but were told to leave before Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr addressed the group.