Detroit City Attorney Krystal Crittendon Opts to Continue Lawsuit

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Detroit corporation counsel Krystal Crittendon has opted to ask a judge to reconsider his decision regarding her controversial challenge to the legality of the consent agreement that the city has signed with the state. The move has incited a new round of criticism from several city officials, including Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. Bing said in a statement released on Friday that Crittendon's continued pursuit of this avenue amounted to "needless litigation," as quoted by MLive, and expressed his hope that her lawsuit would be denied a second time.

Crittendon filed her motion for reconsideration on Thursday, just hours before the deadline, according to the Detroit News and other media outlets. Her original lawsuit alleged that Detroit's consent agreement with the state is illegal because the city charter prohibits it from entering into agreements with debtors. Some city officials have maintained that the state of Michigan owes Detroit money for unpaid water bills, outstanding parking tickets, and revenue-sharing payments.

Here is some of the key information to emerge from Crittendon's original lawsuit and her newly-filed appeal.

* Crittendon reportedly informed the City Council of her intentions in a letter at the end of the day on Thursday.

* City Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown told the media that he expects that "the judge will dispatch this motion of reconsideration in about five minutes and that will be that," as quoted by the Detroit News. He also said that the continued focus on Crittendon is taking away from the city's emphasis on finding solutions to its financial issues.

* Crittendon had two legal options following the judge's initial rejection of her lawsuit on June 13 -- either to ask him to reconsider his decision or to file an official appeal of the decision with the Michigan Court of Appeals. Choosing the former reportedly allows her the option of filing an official appeal if her lawsuit is denied a second time by the presiding judge.

* According to Reuters, Crittendon's decision to ask for reconsideration in the case puts pending bond sales at risk. The state had planned on putting forth $137 million in bonds in order to stabilize some of the city's debts. State treasury spokesman Caleb Buhs was quoted on Friday as saying that "the Department of Treasury believes it will be difficult to complete a refinancing transaction" without "assurance" that the city won't be filing more lawsuits against the consent agreement.

* Both Gov. Rick Snyder and the state treasury had threatened to withhold previously agreed-upon funding from Detroit when Crittendon filed her initial lawsuit as well.

* Crittendon's motion asking for reconsideration was one of three legal challenges filed against the city's consent agreement with the state this past week, according to the Detroit Free Press. One other lawsuit, brought by residents, challenges the agreement on the same grounds as Crittendon's, while a second alleges that the city's newly formed financial advisory board violated the state's Open Meetings Act.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.

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