Lawsuit filed by citizens aims to find the Detroit Consent Agreement illegal

(WXYZ-Detroit) - Another lawsuit claims the city of Detroit entered into an illegal deal when it entered into the consent agreement with the state. 

 Wayne County Circuit Judge Amy Hathaway heard motions in the case Friday.

The three women who filed the suit say they are citizens, retirees, or workers in the city of Detroit and are being hurt by cuts that are part of the consent agreement. 

The consent agreement is a deal between the city and state that aimed to help the city avoid bankruptcy and the appointment of an emergency financial manager.  It took some power away from elected officials, and gave some power to a financial advisory board.

"This is about protecting democracy for the citizens of Detroit," said the attorney for the plaintiffs, Herbert Sanders.

Their suit follows the same argument as the suit filed earlier this year by Detroit Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon.  Crittendon argued that the consent agreement was illegal because Michigan owes Detroit hundreds of millions of dollars.  Under city charter the city cannot enter into contracts with parties that owe it money.

The suit filed by Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon was thrown out because a judge ruled she did not have standing to file suit.  The citizens who are suing hope they will be found to have standing.

Meantime Corporation Counsel is now defending the city in this suit, a suit that makes an argument very similar to one Corporation Counsel filed in defense of city charter.

The mayor's office hired lawyers to file a motion asking that Corporation Counsel be removed from this case due to conflict of interest.

"What Corporation Counsel is doing is going against their client the mayor," said an attorney for the mayor in court today.

 Corporation Counsel denied any conflict and said under city charter it is the sole legal representative of the city.

The state attorney general's office also sent a lawyer to the hearing.  Even though the state hasn't been sued it wants to be involved in the case in an effort to protect the consent agreement it entered into with the city, and the judge decided to allow this.

The attorney for the women suing the state asked the judge to declare whether the city had the right to enter into the agreement in court on Friday,  The judge decided to allow all parties involved more time.  A hearing was set for July 26 th.

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