EM’s former firm bills Detroit $1.4M for 6 weeks of work

Kevyn OrrJones Day, the law firm hired to oversee Detroit’s restructuring, billed taxpayers about $1.4 million for just six weeks of work, according billing statements obtained by the AM Law Daily.

The bankruptcy firm also happens to be the former employer of Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.

One lawyer, David Heiman, billed the city $149,419 for 153 hours of legal work from March 15 through the end of June. Other attorneys also received about $1,000 an hour.

The records show that the firm focused on 13 areas, including general restructuring advice, labor and pension analysis, debt restructuring, Chapter 9 contingency planning and water and sewer analysis.

Since Orr took office in March, some of his spending decisions have come under question. For example, the bankruptcy attorney hired a new police chief with a $225,000 salary. He also hired then-Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown for $225,000 a year.

The mayor’s salary, by contrast, is $158,000.

Orr defended the costs, saying the best lawyers and experts are needed because billions of tax dollars are at stake.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.