Nathan Bomey: Detroit Resurected Reading and Conversation
Come and meet former Detroit Free Press journalist Nathan Bomey, author of Detroit Resurrected: To Bankruptcy and Back!
Nathan delivers a narrative account of the legal and political battles to rescue the Motor City. From court room maneuvers to closed-door deals and handshake agreements that steered the city back into the black, Bomey goes beyond the cartoonish good-and-evil images that dominated national coverage of the crisis and takes a revealing look at the personalities, compromises, grudges, and sacrifices that shaped the “Grand Bargain” that ultimately saved Detroit from complete economic melt down.
In response to Detroit’s economic collapse, governor Rick Snyder, a former business executive and technocratic Republican, placed the city under the control of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, a hard-charging bankruptcy lawyer and Democratic loyalist who was a veteran of the city’s automaker restructurings. This controversial move limited the power of democratically elected authorities in the city—bypassing the will of the people—and placed a city already suffering massively curtailed services under an official policy of economic austerity. After an initial opening salvo, in which the city’s creditors were given a largely take-it-or-leave-it deal, the
city began pushing towards Chapter 9. Between the city’s new leadership on one side and a combination of powerful Wall Street interests and the moral obligations to pensioners on the
other, was Judge Steven Rhodes and his handpicked chief arbitrator, the politically astute and creative Gerald Rosen.
What followed was a battle for the soul of the battered city. Creditors increasingly pushed the emergency management team into politically untenable situations: like an extremely bitter public conflict over the fate of the city-owned collection of masterpieces at the Detroit Institute of the Arts and a conflict over water service stoppages that caught the attention of the United Nations as a human rights violation. In the end, however, leaders would create a broad coalition of philanthropic foundations, creditors, and political officials around a “Grand Bargain,” a massive state-and-private bailout plan, including debt restructuring actions and future limitations
on city spending, that would be unprecedented in the history of civic government.
Focusing on the personalities and power-plays behind the headlines, DETROIT RESURRECTED takes one of the biggest and most misunderstood stories of the economic crisis and refashions it into a fast-paced, tightly focused narrative about the race to save a seemingly doomed city from its grim fate. Bomey’s brisk and engaging reportage untangles the legal and
financial aspects of the bankruptcy without ever losing sight of the human costs and consequences of Detroit’s fall and rebirth. DETROIT RESURRECTED is essential reading for anybody looking to understand how the interplay of law, money, politics and philanthropy truly shapes life in the modern American metropolis.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nathan Bomey, a USA Today reporter living in the Washington, DC, area, was lead reporter on Detroit’s bankruptcy for the Detroit Free Press. Follow him on Twitter (@NathanBomey), or
visit his website, www.NathanBomey.com.In his new book,