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Consultants benefiting from Detroit's cash crisis

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City of Detroit City of Detroit
DETROIT (WJBK) -

While the emergency manager scrambles to keep Detroit out of bankruptcy, there are others who are cashing in on the city's money crisis.

"We have approved over $17 million worth of restructuring contracts," said Detroit City Council Member Brenda Jones.

That is something Ed McNeil with AFSCME said is a serious problem, especially considering his workers could be forced to make tough concessions.

"You've got all these consulting contracts that continue to triple while the city is being crippled in a financial state," he said.

Even some Detroit City Council members are asking tough questions.

"We've constantly asked show us some work product, give us an update on what the consultants are doing. We don't know what the consultants are doing right now," said Saunteel Jenkins.

"You're saying that this is a broke city. I have not seen any work that the restructuring companies have done," Jones said.

However, others say consultants like Ernst and Young and Conway MacKenzie are doing a lot of work guiding Detroit through a financial crisis unlike any the city has ever faced.

"We need to make sure that we have the best attorneys in the world and the best accountants in the world that are working for the City of Detroit to make sure that we protect our assets and that we're represented in this process. Otherwise, they're going to clean our clock," said Bill Nowling, the emergency manager's spokesperson.

"Just think about it. If they can shave off a billion dollars in debt, I don't think anyone's going to ask about how much we paid for the consultants," said Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown.

"If you talk to the city employees and you talk to the folks who actually on the ground who do the work, I think that you could minimize your expenditures. They have not done that," McNeil said.

"Let's wait and see what the final results are before we judge the outcomes of what the consultants are doing," Brown said.

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