Bridge boss jailed, then released for defying judge

DETROIT – Nelson Mandela he isn’t, but the president of the Ambassador Bridge Co. remained defiant after being released from jail for refusing to abide a court order.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards was apparently fed up with the company’s refusal to act on his order to dismantle certain facilities and redo construction work as part of its obligations on the Gateway Project in Detroit, and so bridge president Dan Stamper was briefly jailed yesterday for contempt of court. 

In a surprising move, the judge denied a request by bridge attorneys to delay the jailing until an appeal could be filed, according to local news reports.

Deputies immediately handcuffed Stamper and led him away. New reports indicate that Stamper had little reaction as he was led out of the court room, but a few observers were shocked.

Upon his release Stamper issued a statement saying "MDOT bureaucrats are doing everything they can to stop our successful 80-year-old private sector business from building our new bridge with our own money. They will lose. This won’t stop us and our new bridge will be built and serve the public well."

"It’s a shame that this situation had to occur and that the court had to order scheduled meetings between our company and MDOT," he continued. "We’ve been asking MDOT for these meetings for many months now, with no response."

The Gateway Project was a joint program between the bridge and the MDOT to connect the bridge directly to I-75 and I-96 through a series of ramps.

The state, however, insisted that certain approaches weren’t properly built and sued the bridge company to redo the work and rip out part of a duty free complex already constructed. 

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