As a precursor to Detroit’s much-awaited bankruptcy trial, set to start in less than two weeks, the federal bankruptcy judge who will oversee the trial toured the city by bus on August 8.
According to an August 10 Bloomberg article, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes took the 58-mile tour of Detroit as part of an official court hearing. Also on the bus were a court reporter who transcribed the tour and the bankruptcy attorneys of the city’s creditors.
The city of Detroit determined the route of the tour, according to Bloomberg, which was then reviewed by the city’s creditors. The route went through neighborhoods that are derelict and abandoned as well as areas that are on their way toward recovery. The tour will serve as evidence to be used in the trial to restructure the city’s $7 billion in debt, which will start on August 21.
“What I thought was interesting was how in our high-tec age, in this case the best way to present critical evidence to the judge was to put him on a bus and show him various neighborhoods,” said Charles H. Huber, Attorney At Law at Charles Huber Law.
Robert Hertzberg, a lawyer at one of the Detroit’s bankruptcy law firms, Pepper Hamilton, told USA Today the tour was necessary to provide Rhodes with context “for why the city must slash more than $7 billion in debt and reinvest $1.4 billion in city services over 10 years.”
“It was important in our mind for the judge to get context of the evidence he was going to hear, and by going on the tour and seeing the different sites, we believe it provided the context necessary for us to present our case,” Hertzberg said.