You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time....President Abraham Lincoln
Detroit’s Deputy Director of Construction and Project Management, James Wright, suddenly resigned today. Wright had been the Detroit Medical Center’s Corporate Vice President of Facility Engineering and Construction when Mayor Duggan hired him under a contract to be the $ 250,000 a year Deputy Director of the Detroit Land Bank Authority two and a half years ago. He was then transferred to the city’s payroll in March of this year at a $ 175,000 a year salary. Mr. Wright’s resignation does not include a severance and was effective immediately. Certain evidence of a firing at this level of government, not a resignation. You can bet that Wright just got his Federal target letter. from U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.
The FBI and the Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) have been investigating Detroit’s demolition program for about a year now. Enough time to start issuing indictments. SIGTARP has jurisdiction over the Hardest Hit Fund which provided the $250 million Detroit has spent on home demolitions (and lavished on contractors). Detroit Mayor Duggan has pledged complete cooperation with the investigation.
Wright’s resignation comes on the heels of Attorney General Bill Schuette’s failed prosecution of whistleblower Barry Ellentuck, the ADR Consultants, LLC President who went to the FBI with solid evidence of the corruption in the Detroit home demolition program – the very day before AG Schuette indicted him. Mr. Ellentuck was set up by a lying, thieving subordinate and his prosecution had all the hallmarks of retaliation for squealing to the Feds. Home demolition contract costs suddenly rose from about $ 10,000 per house to $ 16,000 per house under Mayor Duggan, just after Mr. Wright took control of the program.
The city originally signed Wright to a two-year contract that paid $250,000 a year. He was transferred to the city’s payroll at $175,000 a year when his original two year employment contract expired in March. Evidently, $ 175,000 a year is just not enough for Mayor Duggan’s exalted talent. As a point of reference, Governor Snyder makes $ 159,300 per year as Governor of Michigan. Governor Snyder clearly holds the wrong office to make money in this state.
Wright awarded corrupt ‘unit price’ demolition contracts to three connected demolition companies, Adamo, Homrich and MCM Management. You might recognize them as very profitable MDoT contractors, but that was the Proposal 1 story of last year. Wright disclosed contract prices before the bids were opened to their competitors and allowed all three companies special, reduced bonding requirements unavailable to other bidders.