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 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 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 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
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