DETROIT — Detroit’s decision to file for bankruptcy this month has left more than 7,000 private businesses and contractors wondering about money they’re owed and the uncertainty of future payments from the city.
The businesses include companies that tow cars, fill potholes, provide jail meals and run rehabilitation programs, along with a wide variety of other services. Their bills and obligations are part of what may amount to $20 billion in overall debt.
Many business owners say they can’t afford to keep doing work for free, but are afraid to give up contracts that are essential for their survival. The city’s emergency manager has proposed paying off vendors’ debts for less than 10 cents on the dollar.