CHICAGO - Detroit's bankruptcy court judge has delayed the start date for hearings on the city's confirmation plan by three weeks.

The trial had been set to begin July 24 but U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven Rhodes pushed it back to Aug. 14. It is scheduled to last 28 days.

In a filing, Rhodes attributed his decision to delays in producing documents for objecting creditors and "unreasonable" document demands with a bond insurer. Some creditors had sought to delay the trial to September, but Rhodes denied that request.

The deadline for retirees and other creditors to vote on the plan remains July 11.

Detroit bondholders have asked the bankruptcy court to delay consideration of several issues tied to the city's treatment of its bond debt until the main confirmation trial this summer, instead of during a legal hearing in two weeks.

Rhodes on June 2 asked the bankrupt city and its creditors to respond to 14 legal issues tied to the city's plan of confirmation. Rhodes wants to address these "purely legal" questions ahead of a full confirmation trial. Rhodes has set a hearing for the 14 legal issues on June 24.

Several financial creditors, including water and sewer holders and the insurer of the city's limited-tax general obligation bonds, filed briefs late Wednesday saying many of Rhodes' questions could not be settled at the hearing because they involve more than just legal questions.

If Rhodes does hold a hearing on the issue before the main trial, the DWSD holders asked that he delay the hearing until July 15 and require the city to file its briefs on the issue by June 15.

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