Detroit goes bankrupt, largest municipal filing in U.S. history

Detroit is broke.

By Michael A. Fletcher

Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history Thursday afternoon, capping a long decline that left the nation’s automaking capital bleeding residents and revenue, while rendering city services a mess.

The nation’s fourth-largest city in the 1950s with nearly 2 million residents, the city has seen its populaton plummet to 700,000 as residents fled increasing crime and deteriorating sevices, taking their tax dollars with them.

The five-decade slide has left the city owing creditors some $19 billion and under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager. The manager has been negotiating with creditors from bond holders to pensioners to forge a plan to restructure the debt. But an agreement proved elusive as pensioners objected to benefit cuts and bond holders and insurers pressed the city to sell off assets to repay money the city borrowed to fund improvements and plug deficits.

Earlier this week, lawyers for…

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