Governor Rick Snyder says he doesn’t know who donates to his New Energy to Reinvest and Diversify (NERD) Fund. Among other things, the fund pays Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s travel and living expenses.
Snyder made the claim under oath during his deposition this week in Detroit’s bankruptcy case, an early transcript of which was made public Thursday.
Attorney Sharon Levine asked the governor about the NERD Fund on behalf of public employee unions during the deposition in Lansing on Wednesday. She says they want to make sure there are no conflicts of interest in Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings.
“We thought it was important because it goes to understanding whether and to what extent there are influences other than simply just fixing Detroit’s financial issues,” said Levine.
She says asking the governor about the NERD Fund was about trying to get some transparency.
“One of the things that goes to that transparency is who’s paying for the bankruptcy and for the emergency manager?” Levine said. “And what’s the issue, and why is there so much concern about disclosing who’s making those payments?”
In the deposition, Snyder said an independent board handles those transactions.
Snyder has been pressed to make public the names of donors to the NERD Fund. So far, he has refused.
A federal bankruptcy judge will begin hearings this month on whether Detroit is eligible to go through Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
To see a transcript of the deposition in its entirety, click here.