Testimony by police union chief ends evidence phase of Detroit bankruptcy trial

DETROIT – Testimony has ended in a trial to determine whether Detroit is eligible to slash billions of dollars in debt in bankruptcy court.

Closing arguments are set for Friday.

The last witness Thursday was police union president Mark Diaz. He said meetings with city officials before the bankruptcy filing were not considered negotiations.

Unions and pension funds are challenging Detroit’s eligibility to remake itself in bankruptcy. They claim emergency manager Kevyn Orr failed to hold good-faith talks before he made Detroit the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy on July 18.

A consultant for city pension funds, Bradley Robins, says Detroit didn’t allow a reasonable amount of time to negotiate possible changes to retiree health care. But he also acknowledged he wasn’t empowered to bargain over certain issues.