There’s a new wrinkle to the federal corruption probe involving towing contracts, bribery and Detroit City Hall.
Former City Councilman Andre Spivey told Mike Duggan about the federal investigation and his impending indictment, and he gave him the name of a confidential FBI informant. The information came to light following an investigation by Detroit News reporter Robert Snell.
Spivey was recorded by the informant taking a bribe. Spivey pleaded guilty to corruption charges and was sentenced to two years in prison earlier this year.
“I was a prosecutor for three years. When I learn of a crime, I believe it’s my responsibility to act and I did exactly what I should have done.” —Mayor Mike Duggan
Addressing the issue Tuesday at the Mackinac Policy Conference, Duggan says he did nothing wrong.
“I was told by a councilman about information and I acted on it properly and appropriately, going to the law department, going to the police department and then removing this no-bid permit process from the city,” Duggan says. “And as I say, to this day, no one from any federal agency has reached out to me and suggested they had any problem with anything I did.”
The informant is a towing contractor who secretly recorded Spivey taking a bribe. Spivey was sentenced to two years in prison earlier this year.
Duggan says he did not know the source was an informant when he shared his name with several people.
“I have never disclosed the identity of anyone I ever knew to be a confidential source in my life,” Duggan says. “I would not do that. I did not know there was any confidential source involved in this case.”
Duggan denied intentionally naming the informant.
“The suggestion in today’s Detroit News is that the mayor of the city should be told about bribery and a dishonest tower and not say anything, I don’t believe that,” Duggan says. “I was a prosecutor for three years. When I learn of a crime, I believe it’s my responsibility to act and I did exactly what I should have done.”
As part of the broader federal corruption investigation, city councilmembers — and Duggan allies — Janee Ayers and Scott Benson both had their offices raided. Benson remains on the council; Ayers was voted out last November. Former councilman Gabe Leland, who was indicted on charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery in 2018, is serving probation after pleading guilty to state charges of misconduct in office. Leland resigned after he admitted to accepting $7,500 in cash campaign contributions by Robert Carmack, who was the government’s primary witness in a related federal corruption case.
It’s unlikely Duggan’s actions broke any laws, but there are ethical concerns over whether the mayor’s discussions risked the safety of the informant. The informant still has not been named.