Negligent Ilitches, Flint water crisis, fatal cop-involved shooting: Your Monday briefing

Alhambra Apartments on Temple in the Cass Corridor is among more than a dozen large buildings that remain vacant. Photo by Steve Neavling.

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These are Monday’s top stories:

Ilitch family takes public money and runs from obligations

An advisory group of Cass Corridor residents are angry with the Ilitch organization for failing to fulfill its public promise to revive residential areas around the publicly funded Red Wings arena.

The Neighborhood Advisory Committee for the Arena District points out that the Ilitches’ Olympia Entertainment and other outside investors have neglected more than a dozen large apartment buildings while filling the area with parking lots.

Many of the 50 blocks that were supposed to be revamped remain vacant eyesores. A party store where nearby residents got their groceries has closed.

Hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been spent on Detroit’s struggling schools were given to the Ilitches to build an arena and develop the surrounding area.

“The arena is pretty, their people are polite, but there is nothing beyond that,” Karen McLeod, an advisory committee member, told the Detroit News.

“Most of our parking went away through their new parking lots, and the street parking is pretty much gone because the city wanted to make sure the crowds at the arena could get out quickly,” McLeod said.

So far, neither the Mayor’s office nor City Council has called out the Ilitches for violating their agreement with the city to provide affordable housing.

Instead, rising rents in the area have displaced long-term Detroiters who are receiving no help finding a new place to live.

Flint water crisis has little impact on gubernatorial race

The Flint water crisis appears to have made no significant impact on the race for the next Michigan governor.

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Republican candidate and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has claimed he has been tough on the public officials who played a role in the crisis by charging negligent bureaucrats. But recent ads by his Democratic candidate, Gretchen Whitmer, point out that Schuette’s office ignored 15 separate complaints over water quality in Flint between April 2014 and February 2015.

Political experts said the fallout from the water crisis was local and never gained traction in the gubernatorial race.

“I can’t even tell you that it had any real (political) impact in the Flint area, other than changing mayors and even that might have been inevitable,” David Forsmark, a Republican political consultant based out of Flushing, told the Detroit News

Shelby Township officer placed on leave after fatal shooting

A Shelby Township police officer has been placed on leave after fatally shooting a man early Saturday morning.

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Police said the officer was investigating a stolen vehicle at 1 a.m. at the Spring Lane Apartments paring lot and refused to comply with “repetitive verbal commands and informed officers that he was armed.”

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According to a news release, the officer shot the unidentified man “to stop his aggressive action.”

The man was struck by a single bullet and was pronounced dead at Beaumont Hospital in Troy. It’s unclear whether the man was armed. 

The department placed the officer on leave while the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office investigates.

No more details were available Monday morning.

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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.