Director of demolitions resigns from Detroit Land Bank amid federal probe

A demolition crew razes a Detroit house. Photo by Steve Neavling.

The director of demolition for the Detroit Land Bank has resigned just a few months after taking the job.

Rebecca Camargo’s resignation comes amid a federal grand jury investigation targeting demolition contractors and Mayor Duggan’s administration.

Camargo, an attorney from Rochester Hills, was promoted to demolition director following the resignation of Pura Bascos in January. Camargo previously served as principal attorney for the Land Bank.

It’s unclear why Camargo resigned.

“We thank Rebecca Camargo for her more than three years of exceptional service to the Detroit Land Bank, and wish her well in her future endeavors,” Land Bank spokesman Craig Fahle said in a statement.

Turnover has been high at the Land Bank and Building Authority, both of which oversee Duggan’s beleaguered demolition program.

Demolitions have plummeted from more than 200 a week to 35 a week so far this year. In the meantime, the Land Bank’s payroll has nearly doubled

Earlier this year, federal prosecutors investigating the city’s demolition program issued grand jury subpoenas for records that contractors have received from Duggan’s office and city and state agencies. 

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Three sources close to the investigation said federal authorities are probing allegations of a bid-rigging scheme to steer tens of millions of dollars in taxes to select companies. Investigators also are probing allegations of wire fraud after some contractors received money for work they didn’t perform.

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The grand jury subpoenas, which indicate federal authorities are serious about pursuing criminal charges, were issued by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Reynolds of the Eastern District of Michigan.

Detroit is one of the few cities nationwide using Hardest Hit Funds for demolitions. The money was originally intended to helping struggling residents save their homes from foreclosure.
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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.