Wait … Matty Moroun doesn’t call shots for Ambassador Bridge?
By Curt Guyette
For anyone wondering about that odd squishing noise emanating from the courtroom of Wayne Circuit Court Judge Prentis Edwards, we’ve discovered the source: It’s the sound of Detroit International Bridge Co. President Dan Stamper being thrown under a fast moving bus.
You may recall that Edwards, back in November, ordered Stamper and the man widely believed to be the owner of the DIBC — Manuel “Matty” Moroun — into court. The good judge is rightly peeved that the company has persistently refused to abide by the terms of its Gateway Project contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation. Having found the company in contempt of court for the second time, Edwards ordered a Jan. 12 hearing so that he could mete out the appropriate punishment to those he thinks are in charge, namely Stamper and Moroun.
As it turns out, though, octogenarian billionaire Matty is in charge of … well, basically nothing. At least that’s what his lawyers claim in court filings.
“… Mr. Moroun is not the owner of DIBC, and is not the decision maker with respect to the Gateway Project. For these reasons … Mr. Moroun’s presence at the hearing will not assist the Court in devising appropriate sanction. Mr. Moroun respectfully requests that his attendance be excused.”
So, who is calling the shots?
Stamper, who was briefly jailed a year ago after Edwards first found the company in contempt for refusing to obey his order to complete its share of southwest Detroit’s Gateway Project, is definitely on the hot seat. Moroun’s lawyers argue in a brief filed Dec. 21 that Stamper is the guy solely responsible for overseeing that project, a joint venture between the DIBC and MDOT.
So, who does own the bridge company?
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