Letter: Personal attacks hold Detroit back


Re: Nolan Finley’s June 1 column, “Detroit-suburb feud emerges on water contract”: The name of our firm is needlessly brought up in a story that seems to be more about politics than anything else.

Our firm, which has offices in Detroit and is nationally recognized as one of the top-tier municipal bond underwriters in the country — having participated in over $1.4 trillion of municipal bonds since our inception in 1996 — was one of many to respond to the first ever RFP from the new Great Lakes Water Authority. We have often competed professionally with all of the other firms that were considered and we have been selected on the merits for many of those bids.

Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. has a long and distinguished track record of successfully completing similar transactions across the United States. Last year, we ranked third nationally in average deal size for negotiated municipal senior manager rankings and we were No. 8 as co-managers for all issuances. We have senior managed billions of dollars in water and sewer system financings for clients including the cities of Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and, on multiple occasions, Detroit.

Without giving us the opportunity to respond, Mr. Finley quoted the Oakland County representative on the board impugning our firm and its roots in Detroit. Despite the fact that we followed all the rules and showed nothing but respect for the process, this article offered cheap, personal and inaccurate attacks.

It is our understanding that our firm was not a subject matter during the board’s discussion regarding the underwriter recommendation but rather the process and participants in that process were the main issues. It is these types of attacks that have held our region back from making more progress.

Suzanne Shank, chairwoman and CEO

Siebert Brandford Shank & Co.