Detroit Mayor asks for Corporation Counsel's resignation, she refuses

DETROIT (WXYZ) - City Council President Charles Pugh did not mince words Tuesday night when asked whether Detroit's top attorney should be fired.

"I think it's bulls**. I think Dave Bing is out of his mind, trying to fire Krystal Crittendon or asking her to resign," Pugh said.

Mayor Dave Bing put out a statement Tuesday evening saying he asked Krystal Crittendon, the city attorney – officially known as Corporation Counsel – to resign, but she refused.

Now Mayor Bing is asking the council to help him fire Crittendon. It appears he has little support.

"I do think her analysis was flawed in some key areas, so for that reason I did not support her position, but should she be asked to resign? I don't know. How do you ask somebody to resign for technically doing their job?" said council member Ken Cockrel, Jr.

The mayor is trying push out Crittendon after she rejected his demands to drop a lawsuit on behalf of Detroit against the state.

Crittendon's lawsuit claimed Detroit's consent agreement with the state is not valid because the state owes Detroit money, a violation of the city charter. A judge tossed out Crittendon's case last week.

The consent agreement has angered some because it gives considerable power to the state over Detroit's finances. Crittendon insists her decision to go forward with the lawsuit was not about politics, but about following the law.

The mayor said in his statement that he would ask to meet with council sometime this week and would request council members to terminate Crittendon.

The mayor would need six of the nine council members to vote in favor of her firing. If the vote were held now he would likely fall well short of that number.

The mayor's statement in full:

I met with Corporation Counsel yesterday afternoon and I presented her with a letter, asking her for her resignation, effective immediately.

After giving her 24 hours to consider her decision, Corporation Counsel informed me late this afternoon that she would not resign.

The Corporation Counsel's recent legal challenge of the Financial Stability Agreement has negatively impacted our city, including our bond rating and the city's ability to finance its ongoing operations. This will cost the city millions of dollars.

Corporation Counsel believes she has an ethical obligation to the city to consider, but in my opinion part of that obligation as an attorney is to do no harm to your client, the City of Detroit.

As cited in the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct (Ethics Rules Section 1.13), I believe Corporation Counsel violated that obligation when she filed the lawsuit challenging the Financial Stability Agreement. An appeal of Judge William Collette's recent ruling would only do further damage to the city.

With Corporation Counsel's decision not to resign, I plan to meet with the City Council this week, seeking a two-thirds vote to remove her as Corporation Counsel.

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