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Kevyn Duane Orr[1] (born May 11, 1958) is the former emergency manager of the city of Detroit, Michigan.[2] He was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder on March 14, 2013.[3]

Kevyn Orr
Emergency Manager of Detroit, Michigan
In office
March 14, 2013 – December 10, 2014
GovernorRick Snyder
Personal details
Born (1958-05-11) May 11, 1958 (age 61)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Alma materUniversity of Michigan


Prior careerEdit

Orr holds B.A. (1979) and J.D. (1983) degrees from the University of Michigan.[4][5] He began his legal career as an associate with Sterns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson in Miami, where he was promoted to shareholder in 1988.[4][6] He joined the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1991, and soon transferred to the Resolution Trust Corporation, where he became assistant general counsel for complex litigation and bankruptcy.[4][7] Starting in 1995 he was the deputy director of the Executive Office for United States Trustees, a division of the United States Department of Justice that monitors the nation's bankruptcy system, and in 2000 he became the director of the United States Trustees Program.[4][8][9]

In 2001, Orr joined the Washington, D.C. office of the international law firm Jones Day as a partner.[10] Orr had been picked to lead Jones Day's new Miami office before he resigned his partnership to move to Detroit.[11] Noting his "impressive depth of experience," legal industry publication Chambers and Partners listed Orr among the top bankruptcy lawyers in Washington as of 2013.[12]

While at Jones Day, Orr represented Chrysler in connection with its 2009 bankruptcy and restructuring.[11] According to bankruptcy court records, Orr billed $700 an hour during the bankruptcy.[13] The Detroit News described Orr as "the lead attorney on convincing the court to allow Chrysler to abruptly close a quarter of its U.S. dealerships."[13] The Chrysler bankruptcy proceeding was widely regarded as successful[14] for leading to greater sales and profits and Chrysler's renewed "reputation as a bold and innovative automaker."[15]

Tenure as Emergency ManagerEdit

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appointed Kevyn Orr as emergency manager to oversee Detroit financial operations on March 14, 2013 under Public Act 72. On January 24, 2013 Snyder had signed a revised version of a controversial emergency manager law that was rejected by voters during the November election.[16] The new law, Public Act 436, took effect on March 28, 2013 and gave the Detroit emergency manager extraordinary control over all Detroit financial matters,[17] and the ability to recommend to the governor and state treasurer that the government enter Chapter 9 bankruptcy.[18][19]

Orr began his expected 18-month term as emergency manager on March 25, 2013.[20]

At Orr's recommendation and with the approval of Governor Snyder, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy on July 18, 2013.[2][21] His former law firm Jones Day was hired to handle Detroit's bankruptcy. The pick has been criticized as a conflict of interest (Jones Day represents several of Detroit's creditors like Bank of America) and the firms billing rates of up to $1,075 per hour and large travel expenses have been questioned.[22] Yet some legal scholars have opined that no conflict existed between Orr and his former employer.[23] Orr has said of his former employer, "if I didn’t have Jones Day, I might have had to hire six to eight additional firms." [24]

On December 3, 2013, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that Detroit was legally entitled to pursue bankruptcy.[25]

By the summer of 2014, thousands of Detroit residents per week were being denied access to running water in their homes.[26] On July 28, 2014, Orr signed Emergency Manager Order No. 31, further clarifying the roles of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and the Board of Water Commissioners, in part: "the EM has determined that, at the present time, it is in the best interest of the City that the Mayor be granted the power and authority that the mayor would have had with respect to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department ("DWSD") and the Board of Water Commissioners for DWSD ("BOWC") absent PA 436 in order to aid the EM in providing necessary governmental services essential to the public health, safety and welfare" of its residents.[27]

On November 7, 2014, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes approved Orr's plan for the city of Detroit.[28]

On December 10, 2014, Governor Snyder announced that Detroit had emerged from bankruptcy, and that he had accepted Orr's resignation as emergency manager, returning control of Detroit to its elected government.[29]


Orr was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[30][31] Orr's father, Allen Eugene Orr, was an "A.M.E. minister who marched to support the rights of south Florida's African-American minority in the 1960s and 1970s"; his mother, Dorothy Jackson, was a teacher who eventually became an administrator in the office of Broward County's superintendent of schools.[6][32]

In 1990, the Miami Herald listed Orr as one of the area's "Most Eligible Men."[30]

Since 2004, he has been married to Dr. Donna Neale, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland; they began dating in 1994.[31][32] They have two children.[31]


  1. ^ "Kevyn Duane Orr". Lawyers. Justia. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Williams, Corey (July 19, 2013). "In Despair, Detroit Files for Bankruptcy" (PDF). The Express. Washington, DC. Associated Press. p. 3. Retrieved July 19, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Brush, Mark (March 14, 2013). "Detroit is 'the Olympics of restructuring' says city's new emergency manager". Michigan Radio. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 7, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Burns, Gus (March 14, 2013). "Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit EFM Kevyn Orr met over a U-M snowball fight". MLive. Detroit: Booth Newspapers. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Sutton, Dorothy (June 23, 1990). "Attorney addresses Ladies Auxiliary on its anniversary". The News. Boca Raton, FL. p. 13C.
  7. ^ AlHajal, Khalil (March 12, 2013). "Background: Top pick for Detroit emergency manager helped Chrysler through bankruptcy, advised young lawyers not to drink at lunch (video)". MLive. Detroit: Booth Newspapers. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  8. ^ "Jones Day - Professionals - Kevyn D. Orr". Archived from the original on December 17, 2006. Retrieved July 21, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  9. ^ Dawn Kopecki (June 9, 1999). "Congress to Tighten Personal-Bankruptcy Rules". The Wall Street Journal.
  10. ^ "Who is Kevyn Orr?". Southfield, MI: WJBK-TV. March 14, 2013. Archived from the original on May 17, 2013. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  11. ^ a b Davey, Monica (March 14, 2013). "Bankruptcy Lawyer Is Named to Manage an Ailing Detroit". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  12. ^ "Bankruptcy/Restructuring: District of Columbia" (Editorial). Chambers and Partners. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Emergency manager approved to fix Detroit crisis | The Detroit News |". March 14, 2013. Archived from the original on March 14, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. ^ "Bankruptcy expert who helped steer Chrysler LLC restructuring named Detroit emergency manager - The Washington Post". March 14, 2013. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  15. ^ Chapman, Mary M.; Vlasic, Bill (July 30, 2012). "Strong Domestic Sales Help Lift Chrysler's Results". The New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  16. ^ "New Emergency Manager Law Signed By Michigan Governor Rick Snyder". Huffington Post. December 27, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  17. ^ Oosting, Jonathan (January 2, 2013). "Critics expected to test Michigan's new emergency manager law at ballot box, in court". MLive. Detroit: Booth Newspapers. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  18. ^ "Public Act No. 436 of 2012" (PDF). State of Michigan. December 26, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  19. ^ Pinho, Kirk (February 27, 2013). "Detroit Prepares for EM; Snyder Has Short List of Candidates". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ Davey, Monica; Walsh, Mary Williams (July 18, 2013). "Billions in Debt, Detroit Tumbles Into Insolvency". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  22. ^ Guillen, Joe. "Pact would reunite Detroit EFM Kevyn Orr with former boss at Jones Day". Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 9, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ Weiss, Debra. "BigLaw bankruptcy lawyer billed Detroit $34K for travel to and from his vacation home". Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  25. ^ Dolan, Matthew (December 3, 2013). "Detroit Eligible for Bankruptcy Protection". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  26. ^ "No water for poor people: the nine Americans who risked jail to seek justice | US news". The Guardian. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  27. ^ City of Detroit. "Emergency Manager Order No. 31" (PDF). City of Detroit. City of Detroit. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  28. ^ "Saved! Detroit Approved to Set Bankruptcy Plan in Action". NBC News. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  29. ^ "Detroit Bankruptcy Over; Emergency Manager Resigns". Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  30. ^ a b "Most Eligible Men". Miami Herald. February 11, 1990. p. G2.
  31. ^ a b c "Meet Kevyn Orr, Detroit emergency financial manager | Livingston Daily |". March 18, 2013. Archived from the original on March 18, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  32. ^ a b Dickerson, Brian; Helms, Matt; Spangler, Todd (March 24, 2013). "New Detroit emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr takes on challenge of a lifetime". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved July 19, 2013.

External linksEdit