Before I get started I want to make it clear that the title of this blog is actually a play on words from a classic Warner Brothers Buggs Bunny cartoon in which Buggs, exasperated by the idiotic behavior of another character in the story, utters: “What a Maroon.” Yet, I must admit the phrase does fit nicely with the continued moronic behavior of the Moroun family, owners of the Ambassador Bridge. This week, that behavior landed 84-year-old billionaire Matty Moroun in the Wayne County lockup for contempt of court along with aid Dan Stamper who is quickly accumulating a rap sheet of his own.
After Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards sent the two men to jail, son Matthew Moroun quickly took to the airwaves, claiming a violation of civil rights and, even more lamely, a personal vendetta by the judge against his father. Evidently, Moroun was attempting to evoke a conspiracy theory whereby – are you ready for this one – Judge Prentis was acting to “pay back” Governor Snyder for his recent appointment of Edwards’ son Prentis Edwards Jr., a former Wayne County assistant prosecutor, to the 36th District bench.
Of course we all know the real issue here. After 8 years, the Gateway Project, a partnership between the Bridge Company and MDOT aimed at easing border traffic by connecting bridge traffic directly to I-75 and I-96 has still not been completed by the Morouns. Instead, they built a roadway that routes heavy traffic through the streets of Southwest Detroit and right past the Moroun-owned duty free store and fuel pumps that make, it is estimated, millions each year. That, is what sent an 84-year old to jail.
Reporter Charlie LeDuff had it right when he said on Fox-2’s “Let It Rip’: “Matty Moroun, in many ways, is his own worst enemy.” Similarly, Tanner Friedman’s own Matt Friedman told Detroit Free Press reporter John Gallagher last week when being interviewed for a pre-court story, “He’s not famous in the community – he’s infamous.” The point being from the old train station building to the DRIC issue to the Gateway Project, the Morouns, despite their tremendous wealth and influence, have done nothing to ingratiate themselves to or help the City of Detroit, acting instead only in their own best interest. Now, finally, they are paying the price. Time to stop the lame attempts at PR-spin. Time to stop the endless stall tactics. Time to stop reaching for the pocket book. Time – to do the right thing.