CHICAGO — After three hours of public comment, Detroit City Council members Tuesday rejected a contract with well-known Michigan public finance firm Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC that the state had said must be approved before it would release badly needed funds from a state-controlled escrow account.

The $300,000 contract would have made Miller Canfield the city’s outside legal firm for three years, chiefly to handle lawsuits tied to the city’s financial stability agreement with the state.

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