Michigan court orders Ambassador Bridge to follow Gateway contract
By Peter Samuel
The Ambassador Bridge company suffered defeat today in a court case brought by Michigan DOT for breach of contract. Judge Prentis Edwards of Wayne County Circuit Court in a 15-page ruling found the Bridge company to be in violation of its contract commitments by failing to build its part of the Gateway Project (upgraded links to I-75 and I-96) as agreed in 2004.
The Judge ordered Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) owner of the Ambassador bridge to:
1. remove structures built in the path of an agreed access road and to complete its construction in accord with the plans
2. submit a timetable to the court and Michigan DOT for complying with the contract within 21 days
3. pay the expenses of an independent project manager to oversee implementation of the contract
The bridge company apparently departed from the contracted plan for the Gateway in order to facilitate connections to a new parallel span they say they plan to build alongside the 80 year old span. But their planned parallel span has not been given permits by authorities on either side of the river, and on the Canadian side at least there is fierce opposition to twinning the bridge because it would perpetuate truck traffic traveling signal to traffic signal on Huron Church Road, a surface street of Windsor.
The governments on both sides favor a new Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) bridge about two miles downriver which will have direct connections to expressways on both the US and Canadian side.
Today's court order requires the bridge company to demolish a recently built duty-free store and motor fuel station, some toll lanes and columns for the new bridge. Last year Michigan DOT placed large piles of earth to block ramps the bridge company had built.
Michigan DOT said they were misplaced unapproved ramps.
3M is not a federal instrumentality
The US Government is also in dispute with the bridge company over its repeated claims that it constitutes a "federal instrumentality". This is not a title many of us would find flattering, but the Ambassador Bridge has embraced the term in an effort to argue it is exempt from Detroit city regulations and Michigan state law.
US Attorney Barbara McQuade filed a request in US Court East Michigan District today for a 'cease and desist' order against the bridge company naming itself a federal instrumentality.
McQuade's request says: "There is no basis in fact or in law for (the bridge company) to hold itself out as a federal instrumentality...The United States hereby requests enforcement of federal law through a declaration by the court that (the bridge company) is not a federal instrumentality or limited federal instrumentality or any type of appendage of the federal government."
BACKGROUND: Major mover and shaker, and largest stockholder at the Ambassador Bridge is Manuel 'Matt' Moroun, or "3M" often spoken as Mad Matty Moroun, mad because even at age 81 he still hasn't learned that even the most wealthy and successful in this USofA cannot flagrantly violate contracts and other law with impunity.
A man of obvious talent and accomplishments who has built a fortune in a number of highly competitive trucking businesses and at the great toll bridge he owns, Moroun is a real dummy about the law.
The most miserable people in Detroit must be lawyers who have to front for 3M. He never leaves them a leg to stand on, he's such a flagrant violator.
Court order: http://www.tollroadsnews.com/sites/default/files/CourtOrder.pdf