Pension fund moves to hire new lawyer

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit – — Trustees for the city’s Police & Fire pension board Thursday triggered a process that could lead to the removal of an embattled attorney tied to a Detroit corruption scandal.

The board’s general legal counsel, Joseph Turner, factored into a Detroit pension fund bribery case that ended with six convictions earlier this month. Critics say his continued involvement in the pension board raises questions about the city’s ability to move past a history of corruption, mismanagement and bad investments that helped push Detroit into bankruptcy.

During a meeting Thursday, the board voted 8-7 to seek bids for a new independent legal counsel.

Detroit Police & Fire pension fund Chairman Mark Diaz said his confidence in the current law firm, Clark Hill, which employs Turner, “has been shaken.”

The board did not put a timetable on when the process to begin looking for independent counsel would begin.

But City Council President Brenda Jones, who sits on the pension board, said interest in possibly replacing Clark Hill and Turner is “more personal than anything else.”

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