Detroit’s new EM: Pension trustees’ 22K trip to Hawaii is ‘monumental lapse of judgment’

hilton-hawaiian-villageDetroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is getting an early taste of Detroit politics, and he’s not about to tolerate it.

Four of the city’s pension trustees billed taxpayers $22,000 to fund a convention trip to Hawaii this weekend, even as the city nears bankruptcy, largely over mismanaged, underfunded pension plans.

“It’s mind-boggling that someone would think this is a good idea given the city’s dire financial situation,” Orr’s spokesman, Kevyn Orr, told me Friday.
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“It’s a monumental lapse of judgment.”

Orr, an attorney and restructuring expert, is exploring whether he can fire the trustees – if he first doesn’t exercise his authority to strip the pension boards of their power.

“If the emergency manager deems it necessary to remove the boards and act solely as the pension trustee, he will,” Nowling said.

Those who flew this weekend to Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu were General Retirement System Trustees John Riehl and Cedric Cook and Police and Fire Retirement System Trustees Edsel Jenkins and Angela James.

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.

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