As donations dry up, Ficano turns to former appointees to kick-start fundraising

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Bob Ficano wasn't without his main money man for very long.  Former Assistant County CEO Nader Fakhouri resigned from the county earlier this year, but sources confirm that he's back working for  Ficano, this time an employee of Ficano's campaign.

He'll be working to beef up Ficano's political war chest. It's flush with more than $100,000 as of its last filing. Last year it raised more than $600,000—much of it thanks to Fakhouri.

But fundraising has come to a virtual halt since 7 Action News exposed Turkia Mullin's secret severance.  An avalanche of resignations, indictments, firings and guilty pleas followed, turning one of Michigan's most formidable politicians into what one political insider called "kryptonite."   Fakhouri will be tasked with getting the fundraising machine humming again. 

Before he resigned this year, he was a controversial figure inside Ficano's office. His role as the CEO's chief fundraiser was revealed by 7 Action News in several reports.  He sent e-mails about campaign work on county time, and expected county contractors to kick in sizeable campaign donations. 

In one email, he asked an IT vendor about "preliminary numbers" for what he thought county vendors to kick in. It shows he expected big checks as high as $25,000, nothing lower than $5,000.  

Joining Fakhouri in the campaign office is his former deputy, JoAnn Abdenour. She too resigned from the county this year,.but while she was still there, she wrote e-mails telling appointees to attend mandatory  campaign meetings.  And she sent this e-mail to a county appointee.

"Nader has asked that you reach out to a company called 22 nd Century Tech and ask them for $2500 and Max Wolfgang at Sarcom and ask them for $5000 for the PAC…"

"...Nader is confident they will come thru," she wrote.

Calls to Fakhouri on his cell phone weren't returned today.  But in the past he has insisted that he's never done political work on county time, even though multiptle county sources have said otherwise.

As for Abdenour, she told me today that she's proud to work for Robert Ficano and loves her new job.

If you have a tip for the 7 Action News Investigators, contact us at tips@wxyz.com or at (248) 827-9466.

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