Representatives of Detroit's active and retired public workers wait for a meeting in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

After Detroit’s bankruptcy, a nasty surprise surfaced from the wreckage: not just the city itself, but its retirees and would-be pensioners – from police officers to city clerks – would suffer, thanks to an unexpected pension fund shortage of some $3.5 billion.

A firm hired by the emergency manager of the city used a different method to calculate pension values than the one Detroit had used for years, turning what everyone believed was a surplus into a shocking deficit.

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