Auditor General tells Napoleon to reimburse Wayne County for use of car, gas during campaign

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Wayne County's Auditor General has ordered Sheriff Benny Napoleon to reimburse the county for use of his county vehicle and gasoline during his months-long mayoral campaign.

Napoleon says he will comply.

The push comes as a direct result of a 7 Action News report in which Napoleon acknowledged using his county-issued GMC Yukon and county fuel card while campaigning for mayor and attending political events.

State law says using public resources like a vehicle for political purposes is outlawed. Yesterday, Napoleon said his use was appropriate.

“Is that proper to be using a county vehicle?” Channel 7's Ross Jones asked Napoleon.

“Absolutely, I’m still the sheriff.  I still have responsibilities to respond,” he said.

“But you were campaigning,” Jones said.

“Yes.  The President campaigned  and he used a plane…because he’s still the President.”

Today, after being contacted by Auditor General Willie Mayo, Napoleon changed his tune.

"In reviewing all accounts...executives determined that reimbursement for his county fuel had not been rendered to date," said a Sheriff's spokeswoman in a press release.

"While Napoleon continued to serve as Sheriff during the recent election season, he is committed to ensuring that no taxpayer dollars were used to support the endeavor." 

Napoleon will reimburse the county once Mayo's office determines how much is owed, the press release said.

Commissioner Ray Basham said Napoleon's vehicle use was improper.

"He's not the President," Basham said.

Contact 7 Action News Investigator Ross Jones at rjones@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.

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