City financial consultant Kenneth Buckfire said he did not have to recommend to Orr that pensions for the city's retirees be cut as a way to help Detroit navigate through debts and liabilities that total $18.5 billion. Buckfire said it was clear that the city did not have the funds to pay the unsecured pension payouts without cutting them.
These “bonuses” were used to lower the contribution the city was required to make, to give retirees a little something extra around Christmas time, and to fund individual savings accounts that workers are offered along with their pensions.
The list of those owed includes the names of all of the city’s active employees and its retirees, a list of properties that have tax claims with the city, numerous bondholders, business creditors and companies that insured Detroit debt. The largest creditor is the city's general pension scheme, which is owed $2 billion.