Officials in Detroit are looking at making continued changes to city towing rules after several federal corruption probes.
Mayor Mike Duggan told reporters Thursday that he’s asked the city’s police chief for a plan in two weeks to eliminate a decade-long practice of rotating towing duties to a list of preferred companies.
On Wednesday, search warrants were executed at offices in City Hall. Agents and state police also were seen at the homes of Councilman Scott Benson and Councilwoman Janeé Ayers. It was not immediately known if the ongoing probes are related to Detroit’s towing practices. The FBI did not provide details Wednesday about the search warrants.
Ayers’ name emerged several years ago in a bribery investigation involving towing magnate Gasper Fiore, according to The Detroit News. She has not been charged in that investigation.
In 2018, Fiore, of Grosse Pointe Shores, was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison for his role in the bribing of a suburban official for help with a municipal towing contract.
Former Detroit Deputy Police Chief Celia Washington was sentenced that year to a year and a day in prison in a corruption case related to towing contracts. Washington was accused of accepting at least $3,000 from Fiore.
Last month, Detroit Councilman Andre Spivey was charged in federal court with conspiracy to commit bribery and accused of accepting $1,000 from an undercover law enforcement agent in October 2018. The indictment also alleges that between 2016 and 2020, Spivey and “public official A” accepted more than $35,000 in payments to influence votes “concerning an industry under review by the council.”
In June, former Councilman Gabe Leland was sentenced in Wayne County Circuit Court to probation after pleading guilty to accepting an illegal $7,500 cash campaign contribution. Federal corruption charges were to be dismissed as part of Leland’s plea deal.