LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) is requesting a formal opinion from Attorney General Dana Nessel about the validity and legality of the Master Concession Agreement (MCA) between the Detroit Wayne County Port Authority (DWCPA) and the Ambassador Port Company (APC).
The MCA governs the 34-acre general cargo port facility in Detroit referenced in the MCA, as well as multiple prospective DWCPA expansion properties, with nearly unilateral control going to the APC, even over properties that are not adjacent to the port-owned property. One potential expansion site could include proposed plans for the 183-acre McLouth Steel site in Trenton, which has been designated a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“My legislative predecessors and I have long held concerns about the legality and enforceability of the terms of the Master Concession Agreement,” Sen. Chang said. “And if those terms can be applied to an expansion of the Port Authority such as the former McLouth site in Trenton, its application would be economically devastating.”
Specifically, the senator is requesting an opinion from the Attorney General on the validity and enforceability of the Master Concession Agreement (MCA) from May 2005, which not only granted the APC concession rights for 100 years but also set terms for loan repayment — including the loan’s high interest rate that has rendered the DWCPA unable to function autonomously and that arguably does not serve the public’s best interest. In addition, the MCA allows APC to have unparalleled authority over transportation and logistics in Wayne County, which creates an anticompetitive and unfair advantage to APC and its related companies.
“It seems to me, and to many legal minds who have examined the documents executed in 2005, that the terms of this agreement may violate the law,” Sen. Chang said. “It is particularly concerning that the residents of Trenton could be deprived of tax revenue based on the terms of an egregiously one-sided, 16-year-old agreement to which they were not a party. In addition, there are clear issues regarding improper delegation of legislative authority, the almost complete control of a public authority by a private entity, and potential violations of statutes related to ports, shipping, antitrust, and nonprofits.”
The formal letter request can be accessed on Sen. Chang’s website.
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