DETROIT (WXYZ) - The head of the FBI in Detroit is pushing his agents to move as quickly as possible on the Wayne County investigation.
7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo was the first to report that the FBI was investigating the county in the wake of the severance scandal. Now she’s talking one-on-one with FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena.
This case is clearly on the fast track.
Detroit FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena says the information coming in on the Wayne County probe is changing by the day – so to keep up with all of it, they’re adding new agents to the case.
“There’s a lot of information coming in from a lot of different sources,” said Arena.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena says he’s been surprised by how quickly the public corruption probe into Wayne County is unfolding.
“I think in nearly 24 years in the FBI, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything quite blossom like this, or this much information come to a head so quickly,” said Arena.
7 Action News broke the story that Turkia Mullin was given $200,000 in taxpayer money as severance when she voluntarily left her job at Wayne County to become CEO of Metro Airport. The firestorm that ensued resulted in resignations, and broke open a corruption probe that includes allegations of kickbacks to one of Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano’s former appointees.
Arena won’t say exactly when his public corruption unit started looking into Ficano’s administration, but did say the probe has been going on a while.
Arena says so many people are coming forward with allegations – he’s throwing more and more resources at this investigation.
“On at least 2 occasions now, we’ve added additional agents. I’m looking to my staff to tell me what they need. My job is to get them what they need to do their job, so, if they need additional people, we’re going to put people on it,” said Arena.
Arena won’t give a timeframe as to when the investigation will wrap up. He says public corruption investigations often lead agents in new directions, and every lead must be pursued.
“You come in one door, and when you go in the room, there are 5 other doors, or there are other windows. And you’ve got to look behind each door, and you’ve got to open each window and look out,” said Arena.
Arena won’t comment on whether they’ve uncovered any crimes yet, nor will he tell us if people are cooperating with the investigation. He will say they’re trying to move as fast as they can.
“We owe it to the people who are under suspicion. We owe it to the citizens of this area to kind of push this thing as quickly as possible. We’ve got to either clear people or bring them to justice,” said Arena.
“Do you think you’ll see indictments out of this particular case,” asked Catallo.
“I don’t know – it’s early, there’s so much information we’re going through right now. The key is to let the evidence take you where it takes you,” said Arena.
Arena says while the endless publicity has encouraged some people to come forward to the FBI – he doesn’t want people unfairly tried in the media. If public corruption is occurring, his goal is simply to put an end to it.
“I want people to know that, this is a special mission to us. This is not a job, this is not something we’re punching the clock – this is a mission, the people that are working on this, they’re dedicated to this, they’re dedicated to making this a better community,” said Arena.
A lot of the information that the FBI subpoenaed from Wayne County was due to be turned in last week. Documents are flowing in to the agents who now have to pour through them, and determine, which, if any, crimes have been committed.
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