June 20, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Detroit bankruptcy creditor seeks to grill Snyder in court

A bond insurer facing losses of up to $1.1 billion in Detroit’s bankruptcy wants to depose Gov. Rick Snyder under oath about his role in facilitating a deal to aid pensioners.

Financial Guaranty Insurance Company on Friday slapped Snyder and his chief of staff, Dennis Muchmore, with subpoenas and requested they sit for depositions under oath on July 3.

The bond insurance company said in a court filing it wants to grill the governor about the so-called “grand bargain” deal to aid city pensioners and shield city-owned art at the Detroit Institute of Arts from being sold. FGIC has pushed for a sale of the city’s art assets in order to get a better recovery than the near wipe out it faces.

FGIC also filed a notice Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court saying the company’s attorneys may call Snyder and Muchmore to the witness stand during a trial over Detroit’s bankruptcy exit plan, which is scheduled to begin Aug. 14.

Last fall, Snyder answered questions from union attorneys in a deposition and testified during a nine-day trial over Detroit’s eligibility for bankruptcy.

Snyder’s spokeswoman was noncommittal Friday on whether the governor would comply with or fight the subpoena.

“The governor and administration have worked tirelessly to ensure the utmost transparency throughout the entire process,” Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said in a written statement. “We will be working with our counsel and opposing counsel to determine the next steps and find a solution.”

Bond insurer Syncora Guarantee also has said Friday it may call Attorney General Bill Schuette and former mayor Dave Bing to testify at the trial.

Schuette has asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to shield him from having to answer questions from Syncora attorneys under oath about his legal opinion that the DIA art collection cannot be sold because it is held in a charitable trust.

Also Friday, Detroit’s bankruptcy attorneys disclosed an amended list of 21 witnesses the city will call during the trial.

The city has removed state Treasurer Kevin Clinton and Snyder’s senior adviser, Dick Posthumus, from its witness list and added City Council President Brenda Jones. Mayor Mike Duggan previously agreed to testify.

clivengood@detroitnews.com
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