MDOT asks judge to appoint receiver in Gateway Project dispute with Moroun

Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News

Detroit — The Michigan Department of Transportation has ratcheted up its legal war with Matty Moroun by asking a Wayne County judge to appoint a receiver to take control of the Gateway Project at the Ambassador Bridge.

In its appeal given Friday, MDOT said the receivership was necessary because Moroun’s Detroit International Bridge Co.’s repeated failure to complete its portion of the $230 million Gateway Project.

If granted, the receiver would have the power to remove long disputed structures, including fuel pumps, a portion of a duty-free store and a number of bridge piers.

The receiver would also have the power to begin construction on a number of ramps and access roads at the bridge plaza.

Earlier this month, Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards said he would decide Nov. 3 whether the owners of the Ambassador Bridge are in contempt of court for a second time for failing to build its portion of the Gateway Project.

Edwards previously briefly jailed DIBC President Dan Stamper for not following his orders. Edwards gave the bridge company until Jan. 10, 2012, to meet his orders, which MDOT argued would be impossible at this point.

In its appeal MDOT said: “There is no evidence on the record that would remotely suggest that DIBC has complied with the February 1, 2010 Order.

“Conversely, the record contains substantial evidence that DIBC has, in fact, done just the opposite … but, in fact, continues to hamper and delay that construction by failing to remove conflicting structures…”

Asked about the appeal, DIBC President Dan Stamper said Tuesday: “we have not been served so we do not know what is in the documents.”

Edwards ordered both sides to submit a 10-page summation of its position, complete with conditions, findings and remedies to him this month.

The Gateway Project, which began construction in February 2008, realigns both interstates 75 and 96 to create new entrance and exit ramps to the Ambassador Bridge as well as Mexicantown, and seeks to remove truck traffic from residential streets in southwestern Detroit.