City workers and Detroit residents concerned about recent government proposals, including those involving Detroit’s pension funds and emergency financial managers, gathered at a rally today at the Spirit of Detroit outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center to protest what they see as “takeovers and giveaways.”
“This is about takeovers and giveaways and Detroiters aren’t going to idly stand by and watch. They demand action,” said David Stephen, event organizer and spokesman for Citizens for Honest Government. “We want to make sure our representatives in government do what’s in the best interest of the people and if they don’t than they need to go.”
Amid shouts of “Fire Zajac” and “Dave Bing must go,” more than 100 supporters marched around the building carrying signs proclaiming “Hands off our pension and water,” and shouting slogans and listening to various speakers on subjects ranging from pension mismanagement to the fate of the Detroit water system.
The reference to Zajac is Ronald Zajac, the lawyer for Detroit’s two public pension funds. The general fund and the police and fire pension funds are being scrutinized by the FBI and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Free Press reported in 2009 that, with Zajac as legal counsel, pension trustees had few ethical or financial disclosure rules. They were allowed to travel the world with virtually no restriction and accept gifts, trips, tickets and expensive dinners from the money managers, law firms, investment advisers and others seeking business on the board.
The Free Press also reported in 2009 that Zajac did a million-dollar real estate deal with a businessman whose company managed a bond portfolio for the general fund.
The Community Coalition was also a sponsor of the rally.