Wayne County officials want audit of controversial new jail released

DETROIT (WXYZ) - With a criminal probe looming over the controversial Wayne County Jail project – some county leaders are fed up that the results of an audit into the multi-million dollar debacle are being kept secret.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is asking county officials not to release the audit while she investigates whether information was withheld from the county commission and other allegations.

The 7 Action News Investigators have learned from sources that Worthy has met with the FBI.

Chair of the Wayne County Audit Committee, Commissioner Ray Basham (D-Taylor), says he's frustrated that the extensive audit conducted recently on the failed jail project is not being made public.

"It's my understanding they're not giving answers back to the auditor, and to not give the audit chair or the audit committee that same information, or the public  - I think is wrong," Basham told 7 Investigator Heather Catallo.

By law, Auditor General Willie Mayo is mandated to turn over his findings to the Wayne County Prosecutor if he suspects crimes were committed.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy is now investigating the jail ordeal. Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano stopped the $300 million project after it ended up being an estimated $91 million dollars over budget.

Last week, Worthy issued a letter – directing the Auditor General not to share his complete report with county officials. 

She said, "under no circumstances should your office release these materials to the public."

Basham says the auditor has already met with members of Ficano's administration – because auditors usually have to allow them the chance to respond to their findings before finalizing the audit.

And Basham says he's concerned now that the potential targets of the investigation have been given too much information.

"If I thought you had done a bank robbery, and I tell you I'm going to come after you in about 3 weeks, so we'll give you 3 weeks to – maybe 4, maybe 5 to come after you, it's like you don't do that. They should have went to the attorney generals office - they should go after their criminal investigation," said Basham. "I don't want to, in any way shape or form, stop that. I want to do my job and my job as chair of audit is to have a public hearing, on the jail."

The prosecutor doesn't want this information released because, in general, investigators don't want to give the targets of a probe the chance to destroy evidence.

Officials from Worthy's office say they are trying to determine if, at some point, they can release portions of the report, as long as that doesn't interfere with their investigation.

Commissioner Basham says the public has a right to know and that the findings of the audit are not going to change, so he plans to ask for this report in the Audit Committee meeting this Wednesday.
 

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