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Detroit’s Bankruptcy Mediation to be Held in Courtroom Estimated to be Worth $1 Million

Wednesday, September, 18, 2013


It’s ironic enough that Detroit, one of the original pillars of American wealth and ingenuity, is now filing bankruptcy.  To further the irony, the bankruptcy mediation hearings will be taking place in a Detroit courtroom that has been dubbed the “million dollar courtroom.” 


Originally built in 1896, the courtroom was later moved to a new location in the early 1930s at the insistence of Judge Arthur J. Tuttle, who presided over it at the time.  That new location, Courtroom 734, is where Detroit’s Chapter 9 creditors will meet to begin the city’s first bankruptcy mediation session, taking place this week.   


Chief Judge Gerald Rosen, the judge presiding over the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, will be presiding over the mediation, as the Police and Fire Retirement System, UAW, AFSCME, General Retirement System, Berkshire Hathaway Reinsurance Group, Downtown Development Authority, and the Detroit Fire Fighters and Police Officers associations discuss how to move beyond the $18 billion in debt the city now owes to these debtors. 


The opulent courtroom boasts walls made from over 30 different types of marble and a judge’s bench made of East Indian mahogany.  The two columns, each an impressive 12 feet tall, were sent in from Italy and hold lions fashioned from pink and white marble. 


The mediation proceeding is one that strikes an emotional chord with the presiding judge.  "I was sworn in as a lawyer in that courtroom," he said. "I tried cases in front of the chief judge in that courtroom. I was sworn in as a judge in that courtroom. I was married in that courtroom. So for me to be able to preside in that courtroom isn't just a professional honor, but it is also very personal to me. It goes back 30-plus years."