Playing Matty’s game

By Joel Thurtell

That fence that popped up last weekend at Detroit’s Riverside Park extension was not, as some thought, the doing of billionaire Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun.

Apologies to Matty.

The latest fence was the handiwork of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, which apparently had delusions of using that section of the park to repair or maintain a combined sewer outlet, JOTR has learned.

We assigned our entire newsroom to ferret out the truth.

That lone reporter learned that by Thursday, the new fence had been removed.

I suspect DWSD got an earful from a few city officials who were not pleased that an  arm of municipal government was laying claim to a park whose eastern perimeter has already been seized by the aforesaid bridge tycoon.

That same legion of JOTR reporters reacted as one and in disbelief on May 6 as they beheld a Detroit 36th District Court judge apparently buffaloed by a pair of  Matty’s mouthpieces acting as if their megalomaniac boss had bargaining rights over the park because he illegally occupies it.

The fence that remains on the east end of the park was placed there by Matty’s minions and continues to block access to the area where once there were basketball courts, trees and grass. The city forced Matty to move his construction debris, but the area is still littered with gravel and Matty still controls it.

Remember what JOTR said when this whole story surfaced last September? Why not send a city work crew with bulldozers, backhoes and a SWAT team to Riverside Park?

Tear down Matty’s fence.

Tear down Matty’s fraudulent Homeland Security “no trespassing” signs.

Replace those basketball courts.

Re-sod the area Matty tore up.

Once started, why stop with taking back the park?

Turn Matty’s medicine back on him. Send that SWAT team in to seize the bridge itself.

Lots of chatter about whether Matty has the power of eminent domain.

Surely, the government has the power to condemn private property, including a privately-owned international bridge.

I understand 40 percent of the freight passing between Canada and the U.S. goes by way of the Ambassador bridge.

The people need to own the bridge.

Seize it!

If Matty sends out his private army of shave-domed, shotgun-slingin’ hooligans, why hey — I kinda think Detroit cops could sent em packin.

If there’s a problem, maybe Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans could lend a few deputies and even Gov. Jennifer Granholm could sending the National Guard.

Take the bridge. 

Wouldn’t that be great?

Number One thing a public owner would do? Have the bridge inspected for safety. That would be a first. That would lead, inevitably, to defusing the bomb under the bridge, i.e., dismantling those underground fuel storage tanks sitting under the bridge along with the 300,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel that are the biggest security risk facing this bridge.

Number Two: According to law, no more hazardous material trucks on the bridge. That would be a first.

Number Three: Run the bridge as a public entity generating revenue for the public treasury. Another first.

Lastly, tell Matty if he wants his bridge back, he can sue.

Isn’t that kind of what Matty’s telling the city?

Drop me a line at joelthurtell(at)

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