Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced Tuesday he would seek to remove the city’s lawyer, Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon, from her position after she refused his request to resign the previous day.
In a statement, Bing claimed Crittendon’s legal challenge of the Financial Stability Agreement “negatively impacted” the city’s bond rating and ability to finance its ongoing operations, which could cost millions of dollars.
“Corporation Counsel believes she has an ethical obligation to the city to consider,” Bing said, “but in my opinion part of that obligation as an attorney is to do no harm to your client, the City of Detroit.”
Bing has been at odds with Crittendon since she filed a lawsuit on behalf of the city challenging its consent agreement with the state. She filed it on the grounds that the state owes the city millions of dollars and according to the charter, Detroit cannot enter into contracts with its debtors.
While Bing initially supported the lawsuit, he and state officials then asked her to drop the suit, saying the state could withhold revenue sharing. Without the funds, Bing and the city’s state-appointed CFO Jack Martin said, the city would not be able to make payroll.
While Crittendon refused, saying it was her responsibility as Corporation Counsel, a judge denied her challenge.
“This is about the City of Detroit, the city of Detroit’s charter and doing what the people of Detroit wanted the corporation counsel to do when they revised the charter,” Crittendon told the Detroit Free Press.
Bing said he plans to meet with City Council this week and seek a two-thirds vote to remove Crittendon. In his letter to Crittendon requesting her resignation, he wrote:
Some observers have called for a formal removal process under the Charter. That very public process would be drawn out, would cause further needless harm to the City, and would further undermine the City’s ability to move forward with the critical task before us– restoring the City. I therefore believe that your resignation is the path most consistent with your ethical obligations.