“Matty” Moroun Never Made a Promise He Wasn’t Willing to Break

With more than two years of broken promises, a Wayne County Circuit Court judge had no choice but to throw Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun and Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) president Dan Stamper in jail last week for failing to comply with a February 2010 order to remove an illegally built bridge ramp, to nowhere, duty-free gas pumps, toll booths, and a lucrative duty-free shop.

Above, deputies take Manuel (Matty) Moroun into custody. ANDRE J. JACKSON/Detroit Free Press Detroit

The DIBC has continually ignored it’s agreement, known as the Gateway Project, with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to connect I-75 and I-96 to the Ambassador Bridge. Instead, the DIBC built a ramp to their lucrative duty-free fuel pumps and a duty-free shop and ignored Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Prentice Edwards’ order to tear down structures they illegally built. Click here to read the full court order.

The DIBC asserted that they would comply with the court order and the courts deadline. According to a October 4, 2011 Detroit Free Press article, “The bridge company testified that it is making progress, including efforts to relocate toll booths and lucrative duty-free gas pumps.” Stamper added, “Our engineers, our contractors, are committed to the delivery of that project.”

Judge Edwards didn’t agree. “The tactics used by the DIBC have rendered useless any efforts to obtain compliance with the February 1, 2010 order of this Court,” Edwards noted in his February 2011 ruling. “The DIBC has shown complete disregard for this court.”

The DIBC has also become accustom to wasting taxpayer dollars. The state of Michigan, City of Detroit and federal government have already spent more than $230 million to build the expressway connection to the Ambassador Bridge, only to have the DIBC disregard the law and ignore the previous agreement.

If Moroun’s track record is any indication of the future, it’s hard to believe they would ever honor their pledge to build a second span next to the Ambassador Bridge.