FBI's corruption probe expands to Ficano's political machine
5:25 PM, Apr 4, 2013
10:16 PM, Apr 4, 2013
DETROIT (WXYZ) - Federal agents continue to pound the pavement in Wayne County, according to sources. It's a sign that the FBI's probe into corruption inside the Robert Ficano administration is very much alive.
Multiple sources confirm that agents probing corruption inside county headquarters have been asking questions about—among other things—pressure to do political work or make endorsements.
Meetings have been arranged within the last month at FBI headquarters on Michigan Avenue and elsewhere, with individuals familiar with Wayne County politics. Some used to work for Robert Ficano.
Agents have asked about meetings where top Ficano aides allegedly instructed appointees to buy tickets to fundraisers, go door-to-door for candidates, and support or endorse those friendly to Ficano.
One former Ficano appointee says he told agents that he complied "for fear of losing my job."
Fmr. FBI Special Agent in Charge Dan Roberts says it's a sign that agents are going down every path.
"These are some of the most high profile cases that the FBI works, and they want to make sure that they're doing it right, doing it by the book and doing it correctly," he said.
The feds asked specific questions about specific individuals still inside the county, but who have not been charged with any crimes or named in any subpoenas. Because of that, 7 Action News is not naming them.
As for those who have already pled guilty, there are signs tonight that they're giving the feds plenty to work with. Former county Chief Information Officer Tahir Kazmi pled guilty to bribery last year, but his sentencing has been put off ever since. That could be a sign, says former FBI Special Agent in Charge Dan Roberts, that Kazmi is singing to the feds.
"It could be that there is a larger scheme going on there and they have knowledge of it, and they're offering that up to reduce their sentencing," Roberts said.
Ficano's spokeswoman said his office is cooperating with the ongoing investigation, but could not comment on who the feds are talking to, or what they're talking about.
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