The Windsor Star
Chris Vander Doelen
Don’t be fooled by claims that the Ambassador Bridge company got a partial win today when the Michigan Court of Appeals said its owner and CEO dont have to go right back to jail in the morning.
They bridge lost big time, and their enemies are celebrating. The court actually kicked the Bridge company’s butt halfway into Ohio. You can read the whole thing yourself right here, but I’ve gone to the trouble for you.
What the court said: unless owner Matty Moroun does exactly as the lower court Judge Prentis Edwards has been ordering for the past three or four years, the judge Moroun keeps attacking in his despicable TV ads can put his keister right back in the slammer.
Contrary to being rebuked by the appeals court, Judge Edwards had nearly every aspect of his ruling upheld by the three-member panel of senior judges. They said Edwards was right, right, right. The upper court merely advised him to dot a few ‘i’s’ and cross a few ‘t’s’ next time — and then he can throw the bridge boys back in jail again if they continue to diss his orders.
Here are the specifics:
– The Court of Appeals said Edwards was right to find the Ambassador Bridge was “by clear and unequivocal evidence,” to be in contempt of court on Feb. 1, 2011. “Again.”
– Moroun and Stamper claimed in the appeal that they weren’t afforded due process. “We disagree,” the court ruled Monday.
– The bridge executives claimed it wrong of the lower court to confuse them with the Bridge corporation, which was a separate entity. The Appeals Court cited case law that indicates that the separate existence of corporate entities should be disregarded when they are being used to “justify wrong, protect fraud, or protect crime.”
– Moroun and Stamper claim that they should have been named personally in the orders issued agains the Detroit International Bridge Company, but since they weren’t, they aren’t in contempt. The Appeals Court said this argument is “not persuasive.”
– Moroun claimed in the appeal that Stamper was in control of the decisions, not himself. This “does not appear credible,” the higher court ruled.
– Stamper’s claim that he didn’t know he might be incarcerated for contempt is equally not credible, the court ruled — because he was jailed last year for the same thing. That was enough warning, they said.
– And finally the bridge claimed Judge Edwards should be disqualified. “No merit,” the Appeals Court said.
Yep, they got spanked all right. This strengthens the position of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder when he moves to have a second bridge built down river.
The appeal loss means the Ambassador has fewer chances of having their second span approved once they start demolishing their “bridge to nowhere” by court order.
And if they don’t? Back to jail, the upper court says.