Schuette announces charges against Detroit building inspectors - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Schuette announces charges against Detroit building inspectors for taking bribes

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Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette

DETROIT (AP) -- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced 17 corruption charges against 7 inspectors in Detroit's building department.

Schuette on Thursday announced charges that stem from a lengthy investigation involving local, state and federal authorities. The attorney general says the inspectors are accused of accepting bribes that range from $50 to $3,000 over the course of several years.
 
Schuette says six of the seven inspectors have turned themselves in and all are expected to be arraigned Friday in Detroit's 36th District Court. The accused include:

Eric Miller – Two Charges
One count of a public officer accepting a bribe, a ten-year felony
One count of accepting a bribe by an agent or employee, a one-year misdemeanor

John Jones – Three Charges

One count of a public officer accepting a bribe, a ten-year felony
One count of misconduct in office, a five-year felony
One count of accepting a bribe by an agent or employee, a one-year misdemeanor

Bob Watson – Four Charges
Two counts of a public officer accepting a bribe, a ten-year felony
Two counts of accepting a bribe by an agent or employee, a one-year misdemeanor

Phil Lockhart – Two Charges

One count of a public officer accepting a bribe, a ten-year felony
One count of accepting a bribe by an agent or employee, a one-year misdemeanor

Kenneth Russ – Two Charges
One count of a public officer accepting a bribe, a ten-year felony
One count of accepting a bribe by an agent or employee, a one-year misdemeanor

Moreno Taylor – Two Charges

One count of a public officer accepting a bribe, a ten-year felony
One count of accepting a bribe by an agent or employee, a one-year misdemeanor

Delos Matthews – Two Charges

One count of a public officer accepting a bribe, a ten-year felony
One count of accepting a bribe by an agent or employee, a one-year misdemeanor

Schuette described it as "payola," and accuses the inspectors of "perpetrating a culture of corruption" that risked the "health and safety of Detroit residents."
 
Schuette says the group represents about 10 percent of the department's inspection workforce.

Fox 2's Alexis Wiley attended the press conference and will file a full report on Fox 2 News at 5:00 p.m.

Fox 2's Charlie LeDuff has been following the investigation since a search warrant was issued in July allowing the FBI to pay a visit to the Coleman A. Young Building.  Play the video to get Charlie's assessment of today's news.

Statement from Detroit Mayor Dave Bing:

"When I became Mayor, one of my first priorities was eliminating corruption and restoring integrity and ethics to city government. Today's announcement of bribery allegations issued against seven current or former inspectors in our Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) is another step toward eradicating unethical and illegal behavior.  I want to thank the FBI and State Attorney General's office for their diligence in pursuing these allegations.  However, today's action in no way indicts the thousands of dedicated, city employees who perform their jobs with honesty and integrity daily. Likewise, BSEED continues to be committed to enforcing city codes and protecting the safety, health and welfare of our citizens."
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