DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Action News Investigators have learned exclusively that the FBI has subpoenaed records focusing on suspended Wayne County Deputy CEO Azzam Elder, former economic development czar Turkia Mullin, information technology chief Tahir Kazmi and companies associated with the non-profit Wayne County Business Development Corporation.
Sources confirm that staff has been instructed to retain the personnel files of Elder, Mullin and Kazmi, as well as employment contracts, e-mail accounts, and other information.
When Action News tracked down Elder last Friday – we found him sitting in his car with Kazmi in Dearborn, shortly after Elder had met secretly with Mullin.
Also subpoenaed by the FBI are records related to companies that make up the non-profit Wayne County Business Development Corporation, whose existence was first exposed by Action News in October 2010.
There are 14 companies named in the subpoena, but of particular note is The Boji Group. The Lansing company is owned by Ron Boji, the brother-in-law of Wayne County Assistant CEO Nader Fakhouri, Ficano’s chief fundraiser at the county. While at Wayne County, Turkia Mullin helped award federal money that ultimately went to the Boji Group…including $750,000 last year to help build a YWCA headquarters in Inkster. Ron Boji is also one of Robert Ficano’s most reliable campaign donors, and has held fundraisers for Ficano at a Boji family home.
Those 14 companies each contributed to the Wayne County Business Development Corporation, which paid Mullin a $75,000 salary in addition to her $200,000 county salary.
And the subpoena goes deeper: seeking all correspondence about the Wayne County airport, between members of the non-profit, as well as lists of all bank accounts used by the Business Development Corporation during the last four years.
The feds are seeking all records related to the compensation and expenses of Mullin from her Wayne County job, her role as director of the non-profit, and now as boss at the airport. They are also looking at Elder’s compensation and expenses at Wayne County dating back to 2007.
The Wayne County Business Development Corporation board is made up of Elder, as well as Walbridge CEO John Rakolta, Strategic Staffing Solutions CEO Cindy Pasky, and Clark Hill attorney Reggie Turner. Each of those companies was named in yesterday’s subpoena. Now that the non-profit is part of the focus of the feds, we wanted to know how Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano is feeling about the decision to use the fund.
“Do you regret setting up the non-profit Business Development Fund,” asked Action News Investigator Heather Catallo.
“No,” said Ficano.
We also wanted to find out if Ficano is looking to make more changes in the people around him now that FBI is investigating.
“Are you calling on Turkia Mullin to resign from the airport, asked Catallo.
“ At this point she works for the airport, And I think any questions about her, you’re going to have to ask her,” said Ficano.
“But you have a lot of influence over there – have you personally asked her to resign,” asked Catallo.
“At this point, my conversations or any that I had are going to stay private,” said Ficano.
A spokesman for Turkia Mullin told me today she’s focused on the operation of the airport, and that she will cooperate with any investigation.
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