Ambassador Bridge company not US Government - Judge
A US District Court judge last week ruled that the privately owned Ambassador Bridge company DIBC "is not a federal instrumentality or limited federal instrumentality or any type of arm, appendage, or agent of the federal government entitled to any immunity from state or local regulation."
The ruling in US District Court in Detroit by Judge Robert H Cleland continues: "It is further ordered that DIBC and its corporate affiliates are permanently enjoined from appropriating the status of 'federal instrumentality.' DIBC and its corporate affiliates are to cease and desist from representing that they are any kind of federal instrumentality or other arm, appendage, or agent of the federal government, in state court, federal court, or elsewhere."
The bridge company used the extraordinary claim of being a federal instrumentality with the powers of the US Government in order to give the veneer of legality to its seizure of City parkland along the Detroit River next to the Ambassador Bridge. For years now the seized land has been fenced off with 8ft high chainlink fence and patrolled by security personnel hired by the bridge company.
The bridge company claimed the land seizure was motivated by security considerations and the need to limit movement of people under the bridge in an age of terrorist bombings. But the land seized was on the south side of the bridge approaches and coincides with land needed for a new parallel span planned by the bridge company to replace the present 1929 suspension span - but which lacks government permits on both sides of the river.
Disabused by Judge Cleland this week of the notion that the private company had US Government powers bridge company officers told City officials they would not litigate further.
They would take down the fence and give the land back.
The news got to a bunch of leftist activists and Friday some dozens of them staged a bit of political theater for TV, deploying bolt cutters and wire snips to "tear down" the fence and "liberate the park" for "the people." (ADDITION: One of those involved tells us the plans to tear down the fence were made before the Judge's order, and the bridge company's decision to return the land to the City - editor.)
Gateway project demo orders
The Bridge company voluntarily entered into a contract with the state to cooperate on a so-called Gateway project involving modernized ramps and larger plaza areas to improve the approaches between I-75 and the Bridge. The Bridge company then unilaterally changed its plans and built ramps and plaza structure that differed considerably from those contracted and approved.
To this day the ramps have never been matched up according to contracted plans with state ramps.
The state got court orders against the Bridge company requiring the demolition of non-compliant structures. But the Bridge company drags its feet.
For disregarding demolition orders Bridge company president Dan Stamper has already been ordered to jail once for contempt of court.
COMMENT: It takes real chutzpah for a private company to claim it is an arm of the US Government. There is absolutely nothing suggesting such status or powers in the 1920s act of the US Congress that gave them the right to build and operate the toll bridge. Or in any legislation since.
These people play to perfection the part of big bad buccaneering capitalists - usually a marxist fabrication, but all too apt here.
Of course some of the denunciations are unfair, excessive and hateful, and sometimes blame lies elsewhere. But welshing on contracts, disregarding inconvenient orders from a Judge, and claiming US Government powers is such preposterous behavior as to put them beyond the pale.
Court order and injuntion: