Last week the headlines asked a question, and no one has really provided an answer. the question was “Is Kevyn Orr living too large in Detroit?” Local news reported that along with the six figure salaries for himself as Emergency Manager, his assistant and the police sheriff providing security that the city must pay for, there is a luxury penthouse suite at the Cadillac Hotel reserved for him at the cost of thirty five hundred dollars a month, also at the expense of the city of Detroit. Then the people of Michigan were informed of the really shocking part: A room service bill for three thousand dollars with calamari, crab cakes and steak bites among other expensive menu items. Kevyn Orr's spokesman, William Nowling made a statement that Orr was paying for his own meals, but the question remains why is this man living well on the city's dime when everyone's been led to believe the city doesn't have two pennies to rub together.
William Nowling does a great deal of speaking for Kevyn Orr. Most press conferences and public statements to the press are provided by him. Some people have asked why this is the case and why can't the Emergency Manager make his own press statements. Is Kevyn Orr so busy working hard to figure out how to fix Detroit that he can't be bothered to come out of his Detroit office or penthouse suite and talk to the press? It does seem odd that Engler and Snyder's former PR man has to do this job for Orr. Back in 2010 William Nowling did a lot of talking for Rick Snyder, because Snyder was terrible at public speaking when he ran for governor. Perhaps Kevyn Orr is really bad at public speaking too. When he does address the press or make a public statement, he usually reads from a prepared written page of remarks. William Nowling's the guy who answers questions and talks off the cuff when needed.
Here's the question no one is asking, and it's right there for everyone to see. Why isn't Kevyn Orr more available for public speaking, and instead leaves it to William Nowling to answer questions from the press? If Kevyn Orr has been in that hotel room for three months living off calamari and crab cakes (He does come from Maryland after all), why don't we see more of him in the city?
What if we don't see Kevyn Orr in Detroit because he never moved to Detroit? What if he spends most of his time back in Maryland and lets William Nowling do the talking in Detroit for him? Think about it, doesn't that make more sense than the notion that he's holed up in the penthouse stuffing crab cakes into his face and making the city pay for all of it – or not, as William Nowling informed us?
Perhaps that's because Kevyn Orr is still enjoying crab cakes in Maryland, where Maryland crab cakes come from. Orr does have a wife and children who as far as we know have never spent any time in Detroit.
What if this were a concession Governor Snyder made with Kevyn Orr as a condition of taking the job of Emergency Manager, that he never would have to move from his Maryland home and he could do the bulk of his emergency manager work there while William Nowling took care of the PR work in Detroit for him? It explains many things. The fact that he's not around to do his own PR work, and that you generally never see him around the city at all. That would also mean that hotel room at the Cadillac Hotel isn't used much, but the city is still paying for it. Let's not forget the three thousand dollar tab for crab cakes and steak bites. If Kevyn Orr isn't in Detroit because he's doing most of his emergency manager work back home, who's in the penthouse eating all that food?
Lots of questions that need answers, but someone has to ask them first, and the sooner the better.