DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who is he? He's been the topic of countless news stories about Detroit's Chapter 9 bankruptcy but beyond that what do you get when you sit across the table from him? My immediate thoughts reflect back to another controversial barrister I interviewed earlier in my career.
The year was 1995. I hoped on a plane with a WXYZ/Channel 7 crew and flew to Los Angeles. It was during the height of the very controversial O.J. Simpson trial. I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was a very hot Saturday afternoon and O.J.'s team of lawyer's were preparing their defense for the retired NFL player. I waited patiently in a modern high rise building where the air conditioning unit was temporarily on the blink. But eventually, the man affectionately called "the best in the west" entered the room. Attorney Johnnie Cochran was cool, calm, and collected. Like it or not, he had an answer for every question. So does the very composed Kevyn Orr.
In my opinion, there are similarities between Cochran and Orr. Both men - past and present - are highly respected in their specialties of law. Controversy surrounded Cochran and it follows Orr everywhere he goes today. It never stopped the Los Angeles-based defense attorney from the jobs he had to do and it's not stopping the Washington, D.C.-based bankruptcy lawyer from the 18 month assignment he's undertaken in Detroit.
Kevyn Orr is a big fan of Oscar award-winning actor Sidney Poitier. As he says, it's the "dignity" of the man he admires. Whether or not you're a fan of Kevyn Orr, Johnnie Cochran or Sidney Poitier, they are there men you would be hard pressed to argue about their professional skill and dignity.