Detroit City Council declined to approve a contract from a Howell-based company today because of the city’s ties with the Ku Klux Klan.
“This looks really bad,” Council President Charles Pugh said of the contract. “You can’t have contracts coming from Howell, Mich.”
It’s unclear whether council has the legal authority to reject a contract based on a city’s former ties with the KKK.
The ex-Grand Dragon of the KKK had lived in Howell in Livingston County, which has an ugly history with white supremacists.
“I don’t know anyone from Detroit doing work for Howell,” Councilwoman JoAnn Watson said. “This is money that belongs to the people of Detroit.”
Mayor Dave Bing’s administration defended choosing the unnamed company because it was the lowest bidder and most qualified. Only a few businesses applied for the work.
Pugh said he didn’t mean to offend Howell residents.
“I’m sure Howell folks are good people,” Pugh said. “I’m all for diversity.”
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.