September 11, 2013 / 4:38 PM / 4 years ago

Detroit retiree committee asks district court to hear arguments

DETROIT, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The committee representing Detroit’s 23,500 public sector retirees is reaching outside federal bankruptcy court and asking the United States District Court in Detroit to hear arguments on whether the city’s bankruptcy filing is legal under the state and federal constitutions.

In a motion filed shortly after midnight Wednesday, the committee argued that Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, who is overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy case, is “not constitutionally authorized to exercise the judicial power to determine the state and federal constitutional questions” that the committee raised in its objections to the city’s filing.

The committee’s claim that the bankruptcy filing is unconstitutional was part of a larger set of objections that it submitted to the bankruptcy court on Tuesday. The committee also said the city negotiated in bad faith with its creditors.

The city of Detroit last month persuaded Judge Rhodes to approve formation of a nine-member retiree committee, established to ensure retired city workers that aren’t represented by a union are represented in the bankruptcy case. Detroit is paying the committee’s legal and professional fees.

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