(TheRedWire.com) – When Americans seek public office, the public expects that the motives of elected officials are to serve the people, not themselves. Democrats in Detroit, Michigan, seem unable or unwilling to live by this ethic. For the last decade or more, the Democratic-led city has seen its fair share of corruption. Unfortunately, it appears politicians in the Motor City aren’t leaving the bad ethics behind.
On Wednesday, August 25, the FBI raided Detroit City Hall. They didn’t stop there as the nation’s largest law enforcement agency also stormed the homes of City Council members Janeé Ayers and Scott Benson. It’s the latest expansion of a corruption scandal that led to charges recently against Councilman Andre Spivey.
Corruption Investigation Widens
Longtime City Councilman Andrew Spivey was arrested by the FBI approximately three weeks ago for allegedly accepting over $35,000 in bribes to influence city business from 2016 to 2020. As the scope widens, it appears the FBI is targeting Ayers and Benson. While the full extent of the investigation is unknown, FBI agents focused on municipal towing operations and accusations of elected officials and their staff receiving bribes.
In addition to searching Ayers and Benson’s houses, federal law enforcement officials also secured warrants to enter the homes of each councilmans’ chiefs of staff.
After more than a dozen FBI agents were spotted leaving City Hall with boxes of evidence, FBI special agent Timothy Waters said, “The citizens of Detroit have a right to a city government that’s free of corruption.” According to a source familiar with the ongoing investigation, the mayor is not a suspect.
The two Democrats targeted on Wednesday are running for re-election. Ayers is running against three other candidates for two at-large seats. Benson is unopposed. The FBI raid on Ayers’ home comes as law enforcement connected her name to a bribery investigation involving Detroit towing magnate Gasper Fiore. Starting in 2016, wiretaps of Fiore’s phone revealed significant insight the towing giant held over local officials and his desire to rig the system. In 2018, the “Baron of Bribery” was sentenced to nearly two years in federal prison.
As of Wednesday, the authorities have not charged Ayers, Benson, or their chiefs of staff with any crimes in the ongoing investigation.
Detroit’s Long History of Democratic Corruption
Corruption among Democrats in Detroit seems like a right of passage. This summer, former City Councilman Gabe Leland received 18 months probation for accepting $7,500 in campaign contributions of $15,000 requested from a business person to block the sale of property he already owned.
Perhaps the most famous of them all was the conviction of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. He brazenly used taxpayer dollars to lease a Lincoln Navigator for his wife. Additionally, he stole $210,000 of taxpayer dollars for personal trips, messages, meals, and more. In 2013, a judge sentenced the former mayor to 28 years in prison.
In 2009, City Councilwoman Monica Conyers pleaded guilty to demanding money from businesses seeking contracts with the city. There’s more. In 2004, Councilwoman Kay Everett received $150,000 from a company with city and country contracts. In 1976, a jury convicted former Police Chief William Hart of embezzling $2.3 million from a secret anti-drug fund.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. There are many more instances of convictions.
Unfortunately, Democratic corruption in Detroit continues to be a severe issue. However, it appears that the FBI is fully aware of the situation.
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