Governor Snyder's aide in the hot seat

(WXYZ) - Rich Baird has been the invisible man.  Is he also transparent?  

Baird has been behind the scenes working for Governor Rick Snyder to help hire Kevyn Orr as Detroit's Emergency Manager and Orr's law firm Jones Day to be Detroit's bankruptcy attorneys. 

Baird was a witness under subpoena by objectors in Detroit's precedent-setting bankruptcy eligibility trial that is now over.

Closing arguments will be given to Judge Steven Rhodes on Friday.  The judge could rule on this important part of the case next week. 

On Thursday, testimony concluded with former Michigan Treasurer Andy Dillon who said highly paid consultants he helped hire for Detroit can't be trusted to keep their fees in check. 

He earlier testified that Detroit's bankruptcy filing in July looked "premeditated" because there were not enough good faith negotiations with creditors and retirees. 

Dillon resigned as Treasurer at the end of October and his future is not clear.  Dillon was also under subpoena from bankruptcy objectors. Objectors also say the governor is using federal bankruptcy to do what they could not do, cut Detroit city retiree pensions that are protected by the Michigan Constitution. 

The 7 Action News Investigators have been examining the so-called NERD Fund set up by Governor Snyder with secret donors. 

Some of the money has been used to pay Baird's salary and housing for Emergency Manager Orr.  Attorneys were not allowed to ask about the NERD Fund in court because Judge Rhodes said it was not part of eligibility. 

The fund was dissolved last month and Baird is now on the state payroll. 


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