State Treasurer Andy Dillon checked into treatment center for quiet battle with alcohol

Andy DillonState Treasurer Andy Dillon quietly checked into a treatment center earlier this year to seek help with an alcohol problem that people close to him said was interfering with his job and beginning to endanger his life.

The 52-year-old Democrat spent about five days at Brighton Hospital, an addiction treatment center, in early January after several years of heavy drinking, people close to him told Motor City Muckraker. Since then, the father of four has been spending nights in a hotel and at a friend’s house following a recent divorce.

Dillon’s hospital stay came as he was wrapping up an intensive review of Detroit’s finances, a process that led him and his team to recommend that Gov. Snyder appoint an emergency manager to seize control of the city’s troubled finances.

Described as charming, narcissistic and incredibly bright, the attorney-turned-politician was known by some locals to throw back glasses of vodka – preferably Grey Goose – at Cinco De Mayo and Sandy’s by the Beach in Redford, where he raised his family. But Dillon’s drinking wasn’t as well known in Lansing, where some lawmakers expressed surprise.

It’s unclear whether Snyder, who appointed Dillon to the $174,000-a-year post in 2011, knew about alcohol problems or the treasurer’s recent stay at a treatment center. The governor’s office didn’t respond to requests for an interview.

Under the state’s emergency manager law, Dillon has more power than previous treasurers. He has played an integral role in the state takeovers of local governments and schools.

In 2004, Dillon was first elected to the House. After winning re-election in 2006, his Democratic colleagues appointed hims to be the speaker of the House. Dillon even survived a recall election for his role in raising taxes and was re-elected in 2008.

Snyder, a Republican, shocked many Lansing insiders when he appointed Dillon, a Democrat, to the post.

“He’s not the same person he used to be,” a person close to him told us. “His drinking has been out of control for several years now.”

We will continue to seek answers throughout the day.

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Steve Neavling

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.