News from across the nation

June 14, 2013
Michigan
Detroit plants to stop some debt payments

Detroit said on Friday that it will stop making payments on some of its $18.5 billion debt, which would put it in default, and the “insolvent” city called on most of its creditors to accept pennies on the dollar to help it avoid the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

In a forceful opening salvo of negotiations with debt holders, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr announced a moratorium on some principal and interest payments.

Under his proposal, Orr said that unsecured debt holders would be paid less than 10 cents on the dollar but that some creditors would get a bit more based on city revenue.

He said the city would skip a $34 million payment on $1.43 billion of pension certificates of participation to allow the city to conserve cash needed to provide services to residents.

Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services immediately downgraded Detroit’s rating to a level reserved for borrowers about to default.

— Reuters

Pennsylvania
Building inspector: Collapse not my fault

Before his apparent suicide, a building inspector left a video message in which he said a deadly building collapse wasn’t his fault, a Philadelphia official said.

Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said that in the brief video, which he watched Friday, inspector Ronald Wagenhoffer said he was devastated and couldn’t sleep because of last week’s collapse, which killed six people. McDonald said Wagenhoffer used the words: “It wasn’t my fault.” Police say Wagenhoffer apparently shot himself in the chest Wednesday in his truck.

— Associated Press

Texas
Sergeant gets 27 years for sex assault

An Air Force recruiter has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for aggravated sexual assault and other offenses.

A panel of officers on Friday sentenced Tech. Sgt. Jaime Rodriguez at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Rodriguez faced up to life in prison.

Rodriguez previously pleaded guilty to 16 specifications from engaging in or attempting to engage in unprofessional relationships to obstructing justice. He was also convicted of aggravated sexual assault, abusive sexual contact and non-forcible sodomy, among other counts. He will be dishonorably discharged and forfeit all pay and allowances.

— Associated Press

UTAH
Family of slain ref receives an apology

The family of a Utah teenager charged in the death of a soccer referee apologized Friday to the man’s family for the first time, saying it cannot imagine how much they miss their father.

The 17-year-old’s sister read the apology shortly after a hearing in which her brother pleaded not guilty to the charge of homicide by assault. At the hearing, a juvenile court judge denied a request by the teenager’s attorney to let him out of detention while the case plays out in court.

Police say the teenager, whose name the Associated Press is withholding because he is a minor, punched Ricardo Portillo in the head April 27 after Portillo called a foul on him in a game. Portillo, 46, died a week later.

— Associated Press

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