New Detroit Land Bank CEO Assures She’ll Prioritize Safety Over Speed of Demolitions

“Did we go too fast? Perhaps so,” says Saskia Thompson.

Sandra Svoboda/WDET

The new head of Detroit’s land bank says her priority will be respecting demolition safety rules when removing blighted buildings.

The Detroit Land Bank Authority has faced criticism that the speed of demolitions in the city compromised safety.

New Land Bank CEO Saskia Thompson joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about her new role and some of the controversy surrounding the Land Bank. She says the organization will respect safety rules.

“Did we go too fast? Perhaps so,” says Thompson. “Do people want us to go faster than we’re going now? They certainly do.”

“And all I can say is we’re going to go as fast as we can while still making sure that we are not skipping any steps in that process because those steps are there for a reason.”

The organization is under federal investigation focusing on whether it misappropriated federal funds as part of its demolition program.

The Land Bank is arguably one of the most exciting and controversial things happening in Detroit since Mayor Mike Duggan took office four years ago. While Thompson says the organization may have made mistakes, especially early in its existence, she would not have taken the job if she thought there was anything intentionally unethical or illegal going on.

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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