DETROIT — Detroit on Thursday became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy, as the state-appointed emergency manager filed for Chapter 9 protection.
Kevyn Orr, a bankruptcy expert, was hired by the state in March to lead Detroit out of a fiscal free-fall and made the filing Thursday in federal bankruptcy court.
A number of factors — most notably steep population and tax base falls — have been blamed on Detroit’s tumble toward insolvency. Detroit lost a quarter-million residents between 2000 and 2010. A population that in the 1950s reached 1.8 million is struggling to stay above 700,000. Much of the middle-class and scores of businesses also have fled Detroit, taking their tax dollars with them.
In recent months, the city has relied on state-backed bond money to meet payroll for its approximately 10,000 employees.
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