André Spivey pleads guilty to corruption conspiracy and should resign
Detroit – City Councilor André Spivey is set to step down after pleading guilty on Tuesday to a federal corruption charge and admitting he and an aide received nearly $ 36,000 in bribes in the latest corruption scandal in the Detroit City Hall.
Either Spivey or the unidentified assistant accepted eight times money from an undercover FBI agent or 2018-2020 informant in return for a review of the towing issues pending before city council. The longtime city councilor on Tuesday became the second Detroit city council member convicted of a felony this year in an ongoing crackdown on public corruption by FBI agents who target at least five other officials from the city.
“I approached a person seeking financial assistance,” Spivey told U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts on Tuesday. “In return, there was a request for help with the (towing) order.
Spivey, 47, will soon step down from city council – politicians convicted of corruption-related crimes are barred from holding state or local office – marking the second vacancy on the council of administration this year since Councilor Gabe Leland resigned in May after pleading guilty to a state court. malpractice in the office load. Meanwhile, a federal investigation into corruption, extortion, mail and email fraud that escalates amid a fall re-election race for two FBI targets, Council members Janeé Ayers and Scott Benson, did not result in any criminal charges.
Spivey is out on bail and will be sentenced by Roberts on January 19. The advisory sentencing guidelines provide for 37 to 46 months in federal prison.
Spivey pleaded guilty to a bribery conspiracy charge carrying a sentence of up to five years in federal prison. The plot lasted from 2016 to 2020, and Spivey spent the last year secretly cooperating with investigators, his attorney, Elliott Hall said.
Spivey is the first to be charged in connection with the federal corruption investigation known as “Operation Northern Hook,” targeting corruption within Detroit City Hall and the Police Department related to the towing and other questions.
“The people of Detroit deserve a municipal government free from corruption and paid politics,” Acting United States Attorney Saima Mohsin said in a statement on Tuesday.
The ongoing FBI investigation is the largest corruption investigation at Detroit City Hall in eight years since former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and replaced by a new generation of leaders . Over the past 12 years, more than 110 labor leaders, politicians, police officers and bureaucrats have been charged locally with crimes related to federal corruption, according to a database created by The Detroit News.
“If the new generation were reasonably clean, you could say ‘well, this is how it was done in Detroit,'” said Erik Gordon, professor at Ross Business School at the University of Michigan. “But like a lot of things in old Detroit, we’re not improving.”
In the Spivey case, on eight occasions between February 2018 and February 2020, the city councilor, or a member of his staff identified as “public official A”, accepted bribes amounting to more than 1,000 $ in each transaction, federal officials said Tuesday. Payments were turned over to an undercover agent or confidential source, all in connection with towing issues pending before city council.
On October 26, 2018, Spivey encountered an undercover agent at the Side Street Diner in Grosse Pointe and was asked to assist two people with the tow. Spivey accepted $ 1,000 in cash from the agent and $ 1,000 in cash from a confidential source.
Spivey met with the tow source to receive payments at the Dearborn Meat Market, and on January 22, 2020, he received additional funds for an annual fundraising campaign in exchange for towing assistance. Spivey received $ 10,000 and an additional $ 4,000 to a staff member.
On January 27, 2020, he received an additional $ 4,000 to help close contracts, and on February 21, 2020, his staff member received an additional $ 12,000 from tow source Roberts.exposed in court.
Hall pointed out: “Mr. Spivey … had an intention but never cast a vote.”
Spivey wore a black suit and dark orange bow tie in court and sat across from Assistant US Attorney David Gardey, head of the Public Corruption Unit.
During the hearing, Spivey told Roberts that he had not been a victim of any crime before. He noted that he is a graduate of Central Michigan University and is a law student at Wayne State University, which is expected to graduate in May 2023.
The councilor was first elected city-wide in 2009. He was then elected to represent council district 4 in 2013 and 2017. He lives in the historic East English Village and is executive minister of the city. Oak Grove Church AME.
“For the past four years, I have received payments in hopes of helping an individual keep a municipal contract,” Spivey told Roberts.
Spivey and Hall left the courthouse without speaking to reporters. Hall did not return a call seeking comment after Tuesday’s hearing.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement Tuesday that it was a “difficult day” for the city and the family of Spivey.
“Chief (of Detroit Police) (James) White will come forward shortly with recommendations to make it much less likely to happen again in the future,” Duggan said in a statement to the Detroit News regarding municipal towing practices. the city.
Duggan said the towing operation in Detroit was “fraught with the potential for abuse.”
Joined on Tuesday, Detroit District 3 city councilor Benson declined to comment. Other city council members did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The News.
Spivey was indicted a month ago, a development followed three weeks later by high-profile FBI raids on city hall and the home of Ayers, Benson and their chiefs of staff, Ricardo Silva. and Carol Banks.
None have been charged with wrongdoing.
When FBI agents raided Benson and Ayers’ offices on August 25, they were looking for bank documents, check stubs, cash, campaign fundraising records, and documents relating to law enforcement organizations. social protection 501c4, according to search warrants obtained by The News.
They ended up seizing electronic devices, towing papers, shredded papers and payroll records for a Benson assistant.
FBI agents are investigating whether anyone personally benefited from campaign contributions or nonprofit donations and whether they extorted businessmen, sources told the Detroit News.
“Unfortunately, we continue to see corruption in Detroit officials eroding public confidence in government and undermining the city’s efforts to move Detroit forward,” said Timothy Waters, special agent in charge of the Detroit FBI. “Today’s guilty plea is the result of the FBI’s commitment to bring corrupt officials to justice and should serve as a warning to those who think they are outside the law.”