Risqué website seeks naming rights to Detroit landmark

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By Joseph Lichterman

DETROIT (Reuters) – Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has said he would listen to just about any suggestion on ways to restructure the city’s $18.5 billion debt, but one he is not taking seriously: extramarital dating website Ashley Madison’s offer to buy naming rights to Belle Isle park.

Ashley Madison on Thursday sent the city an official letter of intent to buy the right for $10 million to name the Detroit River’s island park AshleyMadison.com Island for 10 years.

The website, which gets about 1 million unique visitors a month according to Compete.com, has the tagline: “Life is short. Have an affair.”

Orr’s office appeared to receive the letter with a grin.

“Should we suggest a higher amount and ‘Orrville’ or ‘Orr Else’ or ‘Orr Isle?'” Kenneth Buckfire, one of the city’s top financial consultants, said in an email to Orr and several others, including an Ashley Madison executive.

Orr responded: “Have you ever visited their website. Maybe a $100 (million offer) would work.”

Bill Nowling, Orr’s spokesman, did not respond to a request for comment.

It was a lighter moment concerning Belle Isle, which has become a sticking point in Detroit’s financial struggle. The state of Michigan and Orr reached an agreement last month for the state to lease the city-owned park for up to 60 years, saving the city at least $4 million in annual maintenance costs. But the Detroit City Council rejected that and proposed a maximum 30-year deal.

A state emergency loan board will choose which deal to accept this month.

(Reporting by Joseph Lichterman; Editing by Vicki Allen)