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Long-suffering Detroit finally turns to bankruptcy

By Corey Williams & Ed White

DETROIT (AP) — At the height of its industrial power, Detroit was an irrepressible engine of the American economy, offering well-paying jobs, a gateway to the middle class for generations of autoworkers and affordable vehicles that put the world on wheels.

But now the once-mighty symbol of the nation’s manufacturing strength had fallen into financial ruin, becoming the biggest U.S. city ever to file for bankruptcy — the result of a long, slow decline in population and auto manufacturing.

Although the filing had been feared for months, the path that lay ahead was still uncertain. Bankruptcy could mean laying off employees, selling off assets, raising fees and scaling back basic services such as trash collection and snow plowing, which have already been slashed.

… Two public employee pension systems are the top unsecured creditors, according to bankruptcy documents. The city General Retirement System’s claim is just more than $2 billion. The Police and Fire Retirement System is owed more than $1.4 billion. The documents filed also show more than 100,000 creditors that include individual retirees, city workers, banks, other businesses, property owners and litigants, though amounts owed aren’t listed.

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