You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Sparring opens Detroit bankruptcy trial

DETROIT — An attorney for Detroit urged a judge on Wednesday to allow the city to fix staggering financial problems through bankruptcy, arguing that without it about 65 cents of every tax dollar would eventually be gobbled up by debts and other obligations.

If the judge finds certain requirements were met, the city would get the green light to restructure $18 billion in debt and possibly slash pensions for thousands of people.

Continue reading below

Hundreds of protesters walked in a circle outside the courthouse with signs that said, ‘‘Bail out people not banks.’’

Attorney Bruce Bennett said he ‘‘could stand here for hours’’ to describe the ‘‘mountain of evidence’’ that shows Detroit is insolvent. ‘‘This is one of those cases where the data speaks very clearly and persuasively on its own,’’ Bennett told Judge Steven Rhodes.

Attorneys representing unions, pension funds, and retiree groups didn’t seem to challenge the ruinous condition of Detroit’s finances but zeroed in on a key test under bankruptcy law: Did the city negotiate with creditors in good faith before the Chapter 9 filing? No, they said.

Sharon Levine of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said talks between Detroit and its unions should have lasted months, not weeks. Another lawyer, Babette Ceccotti with the United Auto Workers, said the bankruptcy filing was aimed at using federal law to attack pensions, which otherwise are protected under the Michigan Constitution.

‘‘Chapter 9 was already a forgone conclusion’’ before the city last met with creditors a week before the filing, Green said.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.