Late on December 2, 1986, Mr. Louis Schimmel was contacted
by Judge Dunn and asked whether he would be willing to accept the position of
Receiver for the City of Ecorse. Mr. Schimmel indicated an interest in the
position, but requested the opportunity to consider the position and its time
commitments over the next several days.
The following morning, Judge Dunn summoned Mr. Schimmel to
the Court for a 10:00 a.m. meeting. By 10:15 a.m., Judge Dunn had appointed Mr.
Schimmel as Receiver and the Receiver was answering questions posed by the
media. The media’s questions centered on the nature of the powers and authority
of a receiver and his plans to correct Ecorse’s fiscal distress.
As Mr. Schimmel had not yet expended any efforts towards
understanding the depth of Ecorse’s problems, no specific answers could be
given. In addition, as there had not been a receiver appointed to operate a
governmental unit in Michigan, or the nation for that matter, the Receiver’s
powers and authority were not defined. Over the course of the next several
weeks, meetings were held with various Ecorse department heads and others at the
municipal offices in an effort to understand the underlying causes of the fiscal
Having formulated actions to be taken to mitigate the
immediate fiscal problems after approximately two weeks, the Receiver returned
to the Circuit Court to discuss the staff and service reductions and other
issues with Judge Dunn. Instead, he found Judge Dunn had retired and was not
available. The receivership had been turned over to a newly elected judge who
would be in training for the first several weeks of January 1987.
Although Judge Rashid, 32, who was elected in November
1986, was no stranger to the political arena (he had been a Wayne County
commissioner and his father held the position of a Wayne County judge for 25
years), he had inherited a politically-sensitive lawsuit without any specific
guidance in legal precedent.