Ex-Ficano aide used funds for needy to bankroll new home, Caribbean vacation, hair plugs

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Wayne County Health Choice was designed to help the neediest, but no one benefited from the program more than a trusted aide to Robert Ficano.  

That's according to a sentencing memorandum filed today in federal court by the U.S Attorney's office.

According to prosecutors, fmr. assistant Wayne County CEO Michael Grundy “stole from the poor to bankroll his luxury lifestyle."  He pled guilty to wire fraud last June and now the government want him to spend up to 17.5 years in prison.

The Health Choice program was supposed to help the indigent, poor and seniors in Wayne County afford healthcare and, while it did in some cases, the feds say Grundy used it to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to himself.  He used intimidation, according to the government, to extort a county contractor into making huge payments to sham companies. 

That money that ultimately made its way into Grundy’s pocket.  The U.S. Attorney says he skimmed nearly $700,000.

Grundy used the money to purchase and renovate a home in Detroit, a timeshare in the Caribbean, fine art and airline tickets.  He spent more than $3,000 at Louis Vuitton and more than $3,500 at a Birmingham fur shop.

According to the feds, Grundy bought a Ford Mustang for himself and helped pay for a Jeep Wrangler for his fiancé.  Before the couple tied the knot, Grundy gave himself an early wedding present of sorts: more than $10,000 in hair plugs, according to the filing.

The government says he would have spent far, far more, but his plot was interrupted in 2011 when, in response to a 7 Action News report exposing Wayne County corruption, the feds launched their own probe.    

Grundy won’t learn his sentence for at least another month. He’s due in Judge Denise Page Hood’s courtroom on May 8.

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