Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Chronicle Staff
Former Wayne County Assistant County Executive Michael Demetrus Grundy, of Detroit, Michigan, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud in connection with his position as Executive Director of HealthChoice of Michigan, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
Joining McQuade in the announcement were Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley, III, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
According to court records, on October 19, 2011, Grundy caused the accountant of HealthChoice to wire transfer $400,000.00 to a company called Medtrix, falsely representing that the payment was pursuant to a contract between HealthChoice and Medtrix executed on March 1, 2011 for Medtrix to develop and implement an electronic medical records (“EMR”) system for HealthChoice medical providers. However, the contract was actually not executed until October of 2011, and it was not approved by the HealthChoice Board of Trustees. Further, Medtrix never created or obtained any EMR programming, and an EMR system that was developed by another company was already being offered to HealthChoice networks and medical providers.
Co-conspirator Keith Griffin pleaded guilty on May 10, 2012 to the wire fraud scheme. He admitted that Grundy used his position as Executive Director of HealthChoice to authorize fraudulent payments to Medtrix and Advertise Me (also owned by Griffin), and that Griffin kicked back substantial portions of those payments to Grundy. In his plea agreement, Grundy admits that he was receiving kickbacks of funds that were supposed to be used for the benefit of the participants of HealthChoice insurance programs.
Grundy faces a maximum of twenty years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and forfeiture of the unlawful payments he received.
United States Attorney McQuade said, "The citizens of Wayne County deserve honest services from their public officials. It is particularly offensive when corruption comes from officials entrusted to promote health and welfare. We will continue to prosecute public officials who enrich themselves instead of serve the people.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley III said, "We will aggressively pursue public officials like Michael Grundy who are charged with promoting the health and welfare of our citizens, but who instead corruptly use their positions of power for self-gain."
"Grundy abused his powers by utilizing his positions to discreetly conduct illegal activities and receive kickbacks," said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez. "IRS-CI is committed to following the money trail to ensure that public officials who use their office to line their own pockets are brought to justice and deprived of their ill-gotten gains."
The case was investigated by agents of the FBI and IRS. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth A. Stafford, Gjon Juncaj and Chantale Fiebig.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 June 2013 14:40
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Cathy Nedd
A former Highland Park Police officer pleaded guilty today to conspiring with three other police officers to protect shipments of cocaine and to take bribes in return for not appearing in court as a witness, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley, III.
During a hearing before U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn, Anthony Bynum, 29, of Highland Park, Michigan, admitted that he and another Highland Park police officer accepted a $10,000 bribe from a man they had arrested on gun charges in return for agreeing not to appear as witnesses at the man’s November 7, 2012 criminal trial.
Bynum also admitted that in late 2012 and early 2013, he agreed with three other Highland Park police officers to take money in exchange for protecting shipments of cocaine. Bynum admitted that on November 15, 2012, he and another Highland Park police officer protected and delivered a shipment of what they believed were two kilograms of cocaine in exchange for $1,500 in cash. Bynum further admitted that on January 23, 2013, he protected two cars containing what he believed to be a total of four kilograms of cocaine. Bynum brought his police badge and gun to protect the shipments. Two other Highland Park police officers drove the cars containing what they believed to be cocaine. Later, Bynum accepted $1,500 in cash from an FBI informant for his work in delivering and protecting the drug shipment.
United States Attorney McQuade said, "Police officers who take bribes have no place in law enforcement. They will be prosecuted for violating their duties to serve the public.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Foley stated, "Police officers who swear an oath to serve and protect must be held to the highest standards of ethics and integrity. The FBI is committed to ensuring those standards are maintained, and in cases of unlawful abuse, will pursue and prosecute those responsible."
Based on his guilty plea and felony conviction for conspiring to commit bribery and extortion, Bynum is facing a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Thus far, three out of the four former Highland Park police officers arrested for extortion and bribery in this investigation have pleaded guilty.
The case was investigated by agents of the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David A. Gardey.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 May 2013 21:17
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff Writer
Today the election commission decided to keep mayoral candidate, Mike Duggan on the ballot despite Tom Barrow's claim Duggan was ineligible to run for mayor.
The commission concluded a candidate must be a qualified resident and registered voter in the city of Detroit one year prior to the filing deadline.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 May 2013 15:27
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Cathy Nedd
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced today that AAA Michigan will donate $23,500 to the Detroit Public Safety Foundation to pay for the inspection of 20 aerial ladders and 4,600 feet of ground ladders used by the Detroit Fire Department (DFD). The gift is the latest in a recent series of recent corporate donations in support of the City of Detroit’s public safety operations.
“Once again, one of Detroit’s corporate citizens has come forward and generously shown its support for our public safety operations, our first responders and our citizens,” Mayor Bing said. “The proper inspection of our fire department’s aerial ladders and ground ladders was a critical need that AAA Michigan has graciously met. I appreciate the leadership and continued concern for public safety that AAA has demonstrated with this gift.”
"Our history of supporting the community dates back nearly a century," said AAA Michigan President Steve Wagner. "We are very pleased to present the Detroit Fire Department with this grant, which we know will help save lives."
The ladder inspections are required to keep DFD equipment in compliance with standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an independent organization that establishes fire safety codes and regulations for various industries and the firefighting profession. Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin ordered last February that until a full inspection of the entire ladder fleet is completed, DFD will not engage in manned aerial ladder operations -- unless there is an immediate threat to life. In cases where a manned ladder must be used, every effort will be made to properly support the ladder. DFD continues to use unmanned aerial ladders as “water towers” to fight large fires.
“We are grateful for AAA’s generous donation,” Commissioner Austin said. “Aerial ladders can place firefighters 100 feet above ground, often with large amounts of water flowing under high pressure. Because of the tremendous stress placed on ladders, regular testing is needed to find the smallest stress fractures and metal fatigue. Completing the testing of our aerial and ground ladders will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of Detroit’s citizens and firefighters.”
AAA Michigan, with 1.5 million members, is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services to approximately 8.8 million members. AAA Michigan partners with civic and community groups and traffic safety organizations to improve neighborhoods and promote traffic safety through such programs as the AAA School Safety Patrol.
The Detroit Public Safety Foundation was formed in 2011 to support the Detroit Police and Fire departments. Mayor Bing’s Active and Safe Campaign, launched last fall, has a similar mission of supporting Detroit’s public safety and recreational programs. In March, the corporate community pledged $8 million to the public safety component of the Active and Safe Campaign. The money is being used to acquire 23 new ambulances for the Detroit Fire Department’s EMS unit and 100 new patrol cars for the Detroit Police Department. To date, a total of $22 million has been raised toward the $60 million goal of the three-year campaign.
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 23:57
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Bankole Thompson
The current state of Detroit’s electricity grid is not only unreliable but a burden to the city and its residents and the maintenance of the public lighting system has cause the city to continue to operate at a loss, according to a new report emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr will release Monday to the public.
The report is coming 45 days after Gov. Rick Snyder named Orr, a Washington DC bankruptcy attorney emergency manager setting in motion the emergency wheels to get the city on the road to financial stability.
According to the report the city estimates a $250 million to $500 million in capital improvements that would be needed to modernize Detroit’s public lighting system, funds that the city does not have and cannot generate at this time.
“The Emergency Manager believes that it is in the best interest of the citizens of Detroit for the city to exit the power supply business. As of 2010, when the city ceased generating a portion of the electricity it sold, the grid has solely operated as a resale mechanism for its 200-‐plus customers. The current state of the City's electricity grid has been characterized as unreliable, as well as a liability to the city and its citizens,” the report stated. “. Accordingly, the Emergency Manager seeks both to limit the city's exposure to the liabilities associated with an aging grid and provide a solution to ensure reliable power to the City of Detroit. For this reason, the city's electricity customers will be transitioned to a third party, and the grid will be closed down pursuant to a phased plan.”
The Detroit Public Lighting (DPL) department serves over 200 commercial electric customers and about 88,00 streetlights. The report cites the recently created Public Lighting Authority (PLA) as part of a comprehensive plan to overhaul the city’s electricity infrastructure because the authority will have the ability to issue debt.
“Proceeds from the debt issuance will be used to overhaul the current street lighting infrastructure. During early 2013, major legislation was to enable execution of the City's plan. In particular, Senate Bill 970 and House Bill 5705 provided a funding mechanism for the PLA, and House Bill 5688 authorized Detroit to establish the PLA. The PLA's articles of incorporation were adopted in February 2013,” the report stated. “In the short-‐term, the city plans to address long-‐standing lighting outage complaints by working with a third party to replace bulbs and fix wiring related issues to address citizen concerns and improve public safety.”
The long-term goal for the PLA according to the report is to reconfigure the street lighting footprint and pare down the current number of streetlights from approximately 88,000 to 46,000 because “the new lighting footprint will cater to Detroit's current population.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 01:38
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Bankole Thompson
The criticism that the use of consultants getting paid over a million dollars per month to help craft a financial recovery map for Detroit is baseless according to emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr.
Since December of last year, Detroit agreed to pay $14 million to nine different companies to provide financial and legal services in the city’s turnaround.
In an exclusive interview with the Michigan Chronicle’s Bankole Thompson ahead of his Monday announcement of a financial operating plan, Orr vigorously defended the city's consultants saying it is disingenuous for some to be questioning use of consultants some of whom were here before his arrival.
“I think part of it is Detroit’s been sort of removed from the world. First of all the amount of money that’s paid is actually small relative to other major cities. We shouldn’t be so provincial about the dollars,” Orr said. “We’ve gotten ourselves into a situation where the amount of debt given ordinary course- the way the city has been running- somebody’s got to come in here with a fresh perspective and say we can’t continue running in place, doing what we are doing that’s taken us to the edge of ruin.”
Orr said if the city were to shut down today and no police or fire services in operation as well as the water department, the city could not pay of its debt in half a generation. He said the magnitude of work that has to b done in a city that has over 15 billion dollars of debt against a revenue stream of a billion dollars or less requires new fresh eyes.
“Frankly in my opinion to have the consultants most of whom were here before I got here and to hear any criticism about consultants that have been here longer than a year helping the city is misplaced,” Orr said. “I come from a different world, a world of the private sector where consultants are highly sought after and highly valued. I think the city is getting excellent value for their money. So I’m not for one minute going to broker any discussion with the criticism of these consultants. The city needs them. Clearly we haven’t been doing them the right way. We need somebody us to get there.”
Since Orr took over the reigns of government in Detroit after Gov. Rick Snyder named him emergency manager, many have been waiting to see what “bold” steps would be taken to get the city on a path to financial recovery.
Even though his presence is still being protested by some who disagreed that Detroit does not need an emergency manager, a sentiment that rings true with some of the city’s civil rights activists, Orr in the interview said the numbers about the city’s situation cannot be debated.
The city is in the process of naming a new police chief and Cincinnati’s police boss James Craig, a former Detroit police officer has been widely reported to be the lead candidate to oversee 1300 Beaubien.
Orr has been criticized for stepping out of bounds in seeking a new chief by some who say he needs to remain focus on the city’s financial turnaround alone.
The emergency manager disagreed.
“I think that’s a little shortsighted. Over half of our budget is law enforcement,” Orr explains. “Section Nine of Public Act 436 states both the legislature and the mayor shall stand down. They have no authority under that statue. One of the first things I did was to give them authority. Everybody was focused on they are having a salary. That’s a minor part. The real part is ‘they shall stand down and shall not attempt to exercise any power.’ That’s well within (my obligation). At the end of the day six and a half months from now whatever we have that is going to be my responsibility and it’s going to be on my plate.”
Last Updated on Monday, 13 May 2013 22:43
Category: Breaking News - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins
After thirty-three years of being a staple in Detroit media with WXYZ-TV, award-winning reporter Bill Proctor announced his retirement, effective May 10th. Proctor joined WXYZ-TV in May of 1980 as general assignment writer.
Throughout his career, Proctor has received numerous accolades, including the 1999 Best Coverage Award for breaking news by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. Proctor is also the winner of the 1983 "Outstanding Media Award" from Michigan's Crime Prevention Association. A former police officer for the Federal Protective Service in Washington, D.C., Proctor highlighted two or three unsolved crimes during each program, which aired twice a week.
Expounding upon his passion for criminal justice, Proctor founded “Proving Innocence” a non-profit organization dedicated to providing investigators to innocent convicts in cases of wrongful convictions in the hopes of proving their innocence and getting the charge overturned. He plans to continue his work with this organization upon his retirement.
Follow Amber L. Bogins @AmberLaShaii
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 16:33
Category: Breaking News Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
DETROIT — A Detroit Department of Transportation bus crashed into a Ford Taurus that ran a stop sign at Evergree south north of Joy in Detroit Wednesday morning injuring several passengers,
No one was seriously injured, said Detroit Police Officer Rickey Townsel. Evergreen Avenue near the crash site south of Joy Road remains closed.
the DDOT bus ended up on the front lawn of a nearby home.
It appears to have struck a tree when veering off the road.
No further details have been released at this time.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 14:19
Category: Breaking News Written by Bill Mears and Chris Cuomo, CNN
(CNN) -- The Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and other officials has been released from federal custody, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service said Tuesday.
Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator from Corinth, Mississippi, was charged with sending a threat to the president last week after letters containing the poison triggered security scares around Washington.
But a preliminary hearing that had been scheduled to continue on Tuesday was canceled and Curtis was released.
There is a bond attached to his release, but the conditions of the bond are under seal at this point, said Curtis' attorney, Christi McCoy. She said her client has been framed by someone who used several phrases Curtis likes to use on social media.
"I do believe that someone who was familiar and is familiar with Kevin just simply took his personal information and did this to him," McCoy told CNN. "It is absolutely horrific that someone would do this." <
Curtis was accused of sending letters containing "a suspicious granular substance" to Obama, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi; and Sadie Holland, a Justice Court judge in Lee County, Mississippi. The FBI said the substance tested positive for ricin, a toxin derived from castor beans that has no known antidote.
The FBI said no illnesses had been found as a result of exposure to the toxin.
McCoy called Curtis an activist who is passionate about organ and tissue donation. Her client wants to right some wrongs in that industry, she said.
"I have a client who is not only not guilty, he is truly 100% innocent," she added. She did acknowledge that he has "a history of some mental issues," but said they are not severe.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 April 2013 17:05
Category: Breaking News Written by News One
UPDATE 8:45 A.M. EST: The suspect’s home, 410 Norfolk St. in Cambridge, is surrounded by police and the SWAT team has guns drawn. Two people are now in custody.
UPDATE 8:35 A.M. EST: Brynn Gingras of NBC New York releases yearbook photo of Boston bomb suspect. A classmate said “he was quiet.”
UPDATE 7:54 A.M. EST: NBC’s Pete Williams is reporting that the dead suspect’s name is Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26. According to NBC, Dzhokhhar ran over Tamerlan trying to escape from police. The deceased suspect allegedly had explosives strapped to his chest.
Governor Deval Patrick has warned residents to stay in their homes. Dzhokhar is considered armed and dangerous.
UPDATE 6:56 A.M EST: NBC reports that the remaining suspect’s name is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The suspects were brothers, legal residents from Turkey (Chechen) who had allegedly been in the US for approximately one year.
Dramatic events unfolded in Boston overnight that have left an MIT police officer and one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects dead, more explosions and much of Greater Boston on active lock down as a massive manhunt continues.
After the shooting of the MIT officer, police followed in pursuit of 2 suspects who fled to the Boston suburb of Watertown.
A police SUV “drove towards the shooters,” he said, and was shot at until it was severely damaged. It rolled out of control, Mr. Kitzenberg said, and crashed into two cars in his driveway.
The two shooters, he said, had a large, unwieldy bomb that he said looked “like a pressure cooker.”
“They lit it, still in the middle of the gunfire, and threw it. But it went 20 yards at most.” It exploded, he said, and one of the two men ran toward the gathered police officers. He was tackled, but it was not clear if he was shot, Mr. Kitzenberg said.
Read more from the Boston Globe AP below:
According to State Police Colonel Timothy Alben, the night’s outbreak of violence began about 10:30 p.m. police received reports of a robbery of a convenience store in Kendall Square near MIT. A few minutes later, an MIT police officer, who has not been identified, was shot multiple times while in his cruiser at Main and Vassar streets, near Building 32, better known as the renowned the Stata Center on the MIT campus.
The officer was pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital.
A short time later, two men carjacked a Mercedes SUV at gunpoint, and the owner of that car was able to flee at a gas station on Memorial Drive. The SUV proceeded out Memorial Drive toward Watertown followed by a long train of police vehicles in pursuit.
At one point during the pursuit, the two suspects opened fire on Watertown police and a Transit Police officer, who was shot and who is now in critical condition at a Boston-area hospital this morning.
During the gunfight, the man known as Marathon suspect #1 was wounded. He was taken into custody and later died at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Alben said.
Police have since been searching for the other bombing suspect.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2013 13:05
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