Councilman Leland subpoenaed; Detroit is nation’s poorest city: Your Thursday morning briefing

Photo by Steve Neavling.

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These are the top stories you’re waking up to:

Detroit once again the poorest big city in America

While the average income in Detroit increased in 2017 for the second straight year, impoverished residents are not benefiting, the Detroit News reports.

Once again, Detroit was the poorest big city in the country last year, according to U.S. Census’ American Community Survey estimates released Thursday.

The city’s media household income increased over the previous year by 5.9% to $30,344 in 2017.

“Detroit is one of a few large cities in Michigan to see significant median household income growth,” said Xuan Liu, manager of research and data analysis for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. “And it has been two years in a row now. It is certainly good news for the city.”

More than a third of the city’s residents were impoverished in 2017, but the poverty rate declined from 40.7% five years ago.

Detroit Councilman Gabe Leland targeted in grand jury subpoena

A grand jury investigating Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland subpoenaed him for campaign donations and text messages about parties, the Detroit News revealed.

Owners of the now-shuttered Centre Park Bar in downtown submitted nearly 100 pages of documents to the grand jury, and they include text messages between Leland and one of the co-operators.

The owners of the bar are suing Dennis Archer Jr., the son of Detroit’s former Mayor Dennis Archer and a major contributor to Mayor Mike Duggan.

The federal investigation is trying to determine whether Leland extorted people for cash, alcohol and food.

“Despite Councilman Leland’s public denials, the text messages and other documents my clients provided to the federal grand jury clearly show that Councilman Leland requested and demanded free food from and free entry into Centre Park Bar,” Paterson wrote in an emailed statement.  “In fact, the text messages provided to the federal grand jury clearly show that Councilman Leland not only requested free entry into an event held at Centre Park Bar for himself and a few others, but Councilman Leland also demanded and subsequently held a campaign event with free food at Centre Park Bar free of charge.”

Michelle Obama coming to Detroit as part of book tour

Former First Lady Michelle Obama will speak at Little Caesars Arena on Dec. 11 as part of a 10-city tour to publicize her upcoming memoir, “Becoming.”

The book tour kicks off in Chicago on Nov. 13.

Tickets for the Detroit appearance are available at and

“Becoming” officially hits book stores on Nov. 13.

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.