DETROIT (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has agreed to be grilled by union lawyers about his decision to let Detroit file for bankruptcy protection, state attorneys said Tuesday.
Attorneys for Snyder and other state officials had been resisting a deposition, based on executive privilege, but told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes during a court hearing tht they had changed course.
Unions opposed to the bankruptcy said Snyder's sworn testimony is important as they argue that Detroit isn't eligible for Chapter 9, a bankruptcy process that could let the city shed billions in long-term debt. Rhodes has scheduled an eligibility trial for Oct. 23.
Snyder's closed-door deposition will be limited to three hours. No date was immediately set.
"We want to understand the motivations for filing and the timing of the filing," said Sharon Levine, attorney for the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, which represents workers at Detroit City Hall.
Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr took the city into bankruptcy on July 18 with the governor's required blessing. Long-term debt totals $18 billion or more in a city that has lost at least 25 percent of its population since 2000.
Rhodes criticized the attorney general's office for shifting the reasons to avoid a deposition late last week.
"The city is struggling under incomprehensible financial burden," the judge said. "In an attempt to create a viable, if not thriving future for itself, it needs to do that with all deliberate speed."