Exclusive: Ex-Treasurer Dillon lands job with firm he helped get a lucrative contract in Detroit

dillon and conway

Part 1 of a series examining the moneymakers in Detroit’s bankruptcy

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

Before landing what turned out to be a lucrative $19 million contract to serve as key consultants during Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, officials from Conway MacKenzie began privately meeting with then-Treasurer Andy Dillon and his staff in 2012 in hopes of getting the job of a lifetime, according to e-mails and court records.

Van Conway

What most people didn’t know – and what Dillon never divulged – was that he’s a longtime friend of the firm’s president and CEO, Van Conway. The duo has thrown back drinks for years at the exclusive Detroit Athletic Club and attended lavish parties together, friends of the two told us.

Less than a month after Gov. Snyder pressured Dillon to resign on Oct. 31, Dillon began meeting with Conway to secure a job working on a merger in northern Michigan, according to sources familiar with the meetings. In the meantime, Snyder was quietly paying Dillon about $40,000 on a three-month contract to teach the new treasurer the ropes – a task he rarely preformed.

Dillon was an integral part of getting Conway MacKenzie one of its most lucrative jobs, according to emails and deposition transcripts, which show Dillon was meeting with the firm months before other prospective consultants.

“My interactions have been essentially exclusively with the treasury department for the state of Michigan,” Charles Moore, senior managing director for Conway MacKenzie, said during a deposition in federal court in September.

Andy Dillon

Conway MacKenzie’s initial $4 million contract has ballooned to more than $19.3 million, city records show. Among those collecting big sums is a 22-year-old financial analyst who recently graduated from college. In just two weeks last year, he collected more than $26,000 at a rate of $275 an hour.

Van Conway, who is known for hosting lavish holiday parties with scantily clad women, has dodged our questions for weeks, occasionally agreeing to an interview before bailing out. He has refused to discuss Dillon’s role with the firm.

Gov. Snyder’s office referred questions to the treasury.

“At no time while Mr. Dillon was State Treasurer or in a decision-making position, was there any discussion of potential future employment with the firm,” treasurer spokesman Terry Stanton said in a prepared statement. “As you are aware, Mr. Dillon is no longer a member of the administration nor is he affiliated with the Department of Treasury.”

Stanton said Dillon is free to pursue whatever career he chooses.

“I am not aware of any prohibition on who or whom a former State official can contract with or work for and thus there is no conflict of interest,” Stanton said.

Dillon didn’t return calls for comment.

In the week before Dillon’s contract with Gov. Snyder expired, we reported that he was on a Caribbean cruise.

Dillon resigned on Halloween after we revealed alcohol problems and racially charged text messages sent from his cell phone.

Dillon oversaw the appointment of emergency managers in numerous Michigan cities and schools but was distracted by excessive drinking and a messy divorce, we reported last year.

Dillon also was accused of domestic violence last year but charges were never filed because of a lack of evidence.

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.

  • dwight mannsburden

    does this have to devolve into some racially tinged discussion? Seriously, why are we not enraged that this revolving door stuff happens? Read The Unwinding. I know it’s so common that it’s impossible to maintain the deserved level of rage, but we the people don’t give one single damn at all, it seems.

  • Tomasi

    Yeah, only white people commit collusion(sarcasm). Ignorant fools.

  • UnionmemberinLivonia

    It all starts at the top. We can start by replacing the one at the helm. Slick Rick needs to go. He is as slimy as they come!

  • Bob Connely

    Okay, now who has the balls to (a.) stop all payments to this law firm and let ’em sue, and (b.) break the contract with this law firm and send their large white asses packing? Andy Dillon has been a piece of work from the first day he stepped foot into Lansing, and continues to prove himself to be a White Kwame Kilpatrick.

  • MrSyn

    “Van Conway, who is known for hosting lavish holiday parties with scantily clad women”

    How do I get on the guest list?!?!

    • Dust Buster

      …”Kwame Kilpatrick, who is known for hosting lavish holiday parties with scantily clad women…. that often end up dead”… shout out to yalls boy!!!!

      • Antman573

        Awwww Kwame still on your mind?

  • Elena Herrada

    This is the person who directed our financial trajectory.
    Why is he not in prison?

  • John Golembiewski

    “White boy jobs network”? This about politics and nothing more. Once you are part of the political community and a member in good standing, you are never unemployed:)

  • Sizz

    Excellent work, Steve. The White Boy Jobs Network is alive and well in Michigan.

    • disqus_vhLozcit3f

      It ain’t all boys, and they ain’t all white in this group. More than anything, these folks are the American oligarchs.

      • Sizz

        Not disputing that, but Rick Snyder, Dan Baird, Van Conway, Andy Dillon, Brad Wurfel, Peter Lark, etc. All of them have one common denominator; their unbearable whiteness.

        • Dust Buster

          i think you meant to say “undeniable” as opposed to “unbearable” but then again, maybe not. however you should thank your god for white people. imagine where you would be without them

          • dwight mannsburden

            i think it’s a play on The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

    • If I said a similar thing about Kwame’s administration, you’d call me a racist.

      Also, I’d like you find a financial turnaround firm in the are that didn’t have some sort of connection like this. There aren’t many and this sort of thing is going to happen unless you want to hire outside the state. I mean, if you’re going to spend stupid money, spend in the state.

    • Dust Buster

      boy you just flew in from mecca and boy…are your arms tired!!!!!!!! i hear you will be doing 4 shows this weekend at the felafels and funny’s club in dearborn