Ficano sued again by fmr. appointee; says he was fired for refusing to campaign on county clock

(WXYZ) DETROIT - Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano has been sued for the second time in four days, this time for allegedly firing an appointee after he refused to do campaign work on the county clock. 

Former Ficano communications appointee James Wallace sued the Wayne County Executive,  four other current and former county officials and Wayne County itself, alleging that he was fired in January after he pushed back against edicts from his superiors to perform work for Ficano's political campaigns and non-profit organizations on county time.

According to the lawsuit, Wallace was "directed to actively 'volunteer' as a condition of his employment, for the re-elect Ficano campaign and was forced to spend days walking door-to-door handing out campaign literature, stuffing mailers, working the polls during election cycles, walking in parades, and working at phone banks."

Wallace says when he complained to his supervisor that he was being forced to do political work on county time--a violation of Michigan law--he was told it was part of his "regular job duties."

He says he was also required to purchase tickets to Ficano political events.  When he failed to do so one year, he said the cost of the $500 ticket was deducted from what he was owed by the campaign.

Last November, 7 Action News first reported that, according to sources, Ficano officials ran a political machine from county's headquarters, and was directed by Asst. County CEO Nader Fakhouri. 

Fakhouri was named a defendant in today's lawsuit. 

In a statement, Ficano said he plans to defend the county from the lawsuit and called it an attempt by Wallace to enrich himself.

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