(WXYZ) - A little known perk in Wayne County that gave lifetime health benefits to top county officials ended amid a 7 Action News investigation – but we’ve now learned that some high-profile names are still getting the perk.
Among them, Bernard Kilpatrick, Kwame Kilpatrick’s father, who is facing federal corruption charges.
Former Highland Park Emergency Financial Manager Arthur Blackwell is also still receiving lifetime benefits. Just a week ago a judge reinstated criminal embezzlement charges against him.
A total of 51 names are on the list of former county officials still receiving the benefits, according to Wayne County spokeswoman June West.
The perk, started under the Ed McNamara administration, provided essentially lifetime health benefits for elected county officials, county commissioners, department heads, deputy department heads and others who leave the county after serving eight or more years.
Inside Wayne County, officials referred to the perk as the “Amann benefit,” after former commissioner Bryan Amann, who threatened to sue the county in 1994 unless an restriction on the perk—limiting participation to those 45 years and older—was removed.
In 1994, the county commission voted to remove the restriction. Amann, 37 at the time, was among the first to receive the amended benefit when he left the commission that year.
Action News has repeatedly requested how much these benefits cost county taxpayers, but Wayne County officials have provided no information.
Current Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano ended the lifetime health benefits last October as Action News investigated former Metro Airport Executive Turkia Mulliin’s severance payout.
Mullin was paid $200,000 in severance cash for voluntarily leaving her position as Wayne County’s economic development director. Mullin has since returned the money. She is now suing to get the lifetime benefits currently being enjoyed by Bernard Kilpatrick and 50 others.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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