Owner of Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge thrown in jail

Manual “Matty” Moroun found to be in contempt of court after failing to complete portion of Gateway Project

January 12, 2012
Ambassador Bridge in Detroit
Ambassador Bridge in Detroit.

The Gateway Project, which is supposed to connect Detroit’s Ambassador Bridge with local interstates, is not near completion. As a result, Manual “Matty” Moroun and Dan Stamper are in jail.

The 84-year-old Moroun is the owner of the Detroit International Bridge Co, which in turn owns the Ambassador Bridge. Stamper serves as DIBC’s president. DIBC failed to comply with a court order issued on Feb. 1, 2010, which called for the completion of the Gateway Project. In November 2011 the DIBC was found to be in contempt of court.

Moroun’s lawyers argued that their client no longer serves as the owner of DIBC. However, lawyers representing the state of Michigan claimed Moroun was still in charge of operations.

“We take no pleasure in these folks going to jail,” said Gregory Johnson of the Michigan DOT. “We take no pleasure in that. All we want, and all we’ve ever wanted, is for the contract to be fulfilled so we can complete our project and move forward.”

After community leaders complained that bridge-related truck traffic on city streets were creating hazardous conditions, the Michigan DOT and DIBC entered into agreement to build separate parts of the Gateway Project. The portion controlled by DIBC needed to be completed before the Michigan DOT could step in with its contribution.

“I’m sure people in the southwest community around the bridge are feeling some sort of validation,” said Joe McGuire, who is a member of Occupy Detroit’s Direct Action committee.

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