Part 1: Duggan’s formidable political machine relies on deep-pocket outsiders
Mayor Duggan spent $1.2 million on his re-election bid since November, shelling out money to more than 225 people, including his son and an ex-felon, for work ranging from canvassing neighborhoods to conducting telephone polls.
A Motor City Muckraker review of Duggan’s campaign expenses found that the mayor is not taking his re-election for granted, spending serious money on consultants, pollsters, neighborhood canvassers, website developers and social media advertising.
Duggan, who is running for a second term, raised an unprecedented $1.6 million between November 2016 and July 23, relying heavily on big banks, suburban developers, corporate executives, political action committees and other deep-pocket movers-and-shakers.
Motor City Muckraker has found:
- One of the campaign’s highest-paid employees is Vaughn Arrington, who was fired as executive assistant for disgraced former Council President Charles Pugh for fleeing police in 2011. Arrington also served time in prison for a 1997 carjacking and armed robbery that he had committed when he was 16.
- The mayor’s campaign paid Duggan’s son, Patrick Duggan, who lives at the Manoogian Mansion, $4,500 for consulting fees. In March 2017, Duggan’s son also began working as associate athletic director for the Detroit Police Athletic League.
- Duggan spent more than $87,000 on 214 “independent consultants” to canvass neighborhoods and erect and replace campaign signs.
- Of Duggan’s nine highest-paid campaign employees, five live outside of the city.
- The mayor paid his campaign manager, Enrico Razo, $32,235 since January 23. Razo served as district manager for Duggan’s administration from February 2014 to January 2017. He took a leave of absence to campaign for Hillary Clinton from August 2016 to November 2016.
- City Council candidate Jewel Ware received $2,000 for consulting fees, and her firm Diamond Networking collected an additional $12,000.
- Radio host Jonathan Kinloch received $2,500 for consulting fees.
- The mayor spent more than $105,000 on Facebook ads, $59,634 on yard signs, $32,444 on brochures and $32,190 on buttons, bumper stickers and t-shirts.
- After getting endorsements from the Black Slate and the Eastside Slate, Duggan paid $14,000 to print out slate cards.
- Duggan spent more than $140,000 on legal fees.
- Four of Duggan’s highest-paid campaign employees – Abbey Dinsmore, Lauren Mondry, Lindsey Yono, and Stephen Mintline – live outside of Detroit.
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Duggan enters Tuesday’s primary election with a significant fundraising advantage over his opponents but serious questions have been raised about his reliance on deep-pocket outsiders for donations.
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Coleman Young II, who only raised $22,000, is expected to advance to the general election with Duggan. Young, the son of Detroit’s first black mayor, said he’s running a grassroots campaign that doesn’t rely on big donors.
Join us Tuesday as we monitor the election polls.
Motor City Muckraker is an independent watchdog funded by donations. To help us cover more stories like this, please consider a small contribution.
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.