Coleman Young II calls for special prosecutor to probe Duggan’s demo program

Coleman Young II speaks at a press conference at his campaign headquarters on Livernois. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Sen. Coleman Young II called for a special prosecutor today to investigate Mayor Duggan’s demolition program after Motor City Muckraker revealed last week that the U.S. Attorney’s Office leaked favorable information about Duggan to the media.

Young, who is running for mayor, said Duggan has a close relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District because of his time as a county prosecutor.

“The law states that federal grand jury investigations are confidential and secret,” Young said at a press conference at his campaign headquarters on Livernois, flanked by a larger-than-life photo of his father, former mayor Coleman A. Young.

Young argued it’s premature to determine the target of the demolition investigation since the grand jury is still collecting subpoenaed records, including all correspondence between contractors and Duggan’s office. Citing reports by investigative reporter Charlie LeDuff, Young said the mayor arranged an “unauthorized meeting with preferred contractors that the state did not approve.”

“This is collusion and bid-rigging,” Young insisted. “Imagine what $250 million would have meant for our neighborhoods if bids were submitted properly and honestly.”

Young portrayed Duggan as a sketchy politician who was investigated by the FBI when he was a deputy Wayne County executive and prosecutor.

“Every time Mike Duggan has handled money, there has been a federal investigation,” Young said.

Coleman Young II supporters during a press conference. Photo by Steve Neavling.

“After all our beloved city has went through, we don’t need this,” Young said. “We need honesty and transparency. We need a thorough and honest investigation.”

Duggan’s Chief of Staff Alexis Wiley dismissed Young’s claims as “just another example of Coleman Young bashing the mayor” without offering a plan for Detroit.

“If he presented a plan for the future of the city, then I would call that big news,” Wiley told me. “But his smearing the mayor is just really his standard M.O.”

To be sure, Young has yet to offer a plan for improving Detroit.

Last week, Motor City Muckraker revealed that authorities suspect city officials colluded with select contractors to rig the bidding process for demolition work. Some of those officials, who were hired by Duggan, have since resigned. Three sources close to the investigation told us authorities are trying to determine whether those officials were directed by Duggan or anyone else to rig the bidding system. 

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.