- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2013

Kevyn Orr, the former Washington, D.C.-based attorney who’s been tasked with overseeing the financial restructuring of bankrupt Detroit, was forced to issue a mea culpa to city residents on Wednesday: Sorry for calling you all stupid and lazy, he said.

Specifically, he called the city “dumb, lazy, happy and rich” to a Wall Street Journal writer, The Detroit Free Press reported. That characterization, in an article titled, “Kevyn Orr: How Detroit Can Rise Again,” appeared on the WSJ’s website on Aug 2. This week, Mr. Orr told local WXYZ-TV reporters that he regretted the statement.

“I was not as sensitive as perhaps I should have been … to the fact that some people who do not read the Wall Street Journal would have interpreted that in a way that I was not making a figurative statement about complacency but a literal statement about the people,” he said, in the Detroit Free Press report. “That was not my intent. I would say very clearly to the people of Detroit: I apologize to the extent anyone was offended. Let’s get by this. I want to remove the emotion.”

One local NAACP president, the Rev. Wendell Anthony, called the apology too little, too late.

“It tears me apart when the apologist says he is offended because the people he offended were offended,” Mr. Anthony said, in the report. “I mean, what in heaven are you talking about?”

Mr. Orr’s full statement, as it appeared in the WSJ: “For a long time, the city was dumb, lazy, happy and rich. Detroit has been the center of more change in the 20th century than I dare say virtually any other city, but that wealth allowed us to have a covenant [that held] if you had an eighth-grade education, you’ll get 30 years of a good job and a pension and great health care, but you don’t have to worry about what’s going to come.”

Detroit faces an $18 billion budget shortfall.

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