DETROIT Lawyers representing Detroit in its quest to enter the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history say eliminating pension benefits for retirees isn't among their goals.
Jones Day law firm attorney Bruce Bennett also told federal Judge Steven Rhodes on Tuesday that he doesn't think the state has an obligation to guarantee municipal pensions.
Rhodes is holding hearings Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of next week's trial to determine whether Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy.
City unions and retirees point to the threat to pensions as among the reasons why bankruptcy should be denied. They say pensions are protected by Michigan's Constitution. State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr has said federal bankruptcy law supersedes state law.
Orr says Detroit has $18 billion or more debt, and that pensions are underfunded by $3.5 billion.