DETROIT - Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy submitted the audit into the failed $300 million jail project to a Grand Jury, making it a crime for anyone to release the document.
The Chief Judge of the Wayne County Circuit Criminal Division issued a court order today. Wayne County's Auditor General investigated the construction costs of the jail, and turned over his findings to Worthy.
According to Worthy's petition for a one-man grand juror judicial investigation, her staff is investigating:
- public official willful neglect of duty
- false statements relating to public finances and/or financial conditions in Wayne County.
The court order and exposure to the grand jury also means that the public records requests the 7 Action News Investigators have submitted to the county for all drafts and versions of the report will not be honored.
Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano stopped construction on the jail in June after learning the project was expected to be $91 Million over budget.
"I'm pleased in as much as there's some certainty to this process. I don't know what the end game is, but at the end of the grand jury, at some point, the Chair of Audit Committee and the Audit Committee and the public and the media have a right to know," said Commissioner Ray Basham (D-Taylor), Chair of the Audit Committee. " The auditor spent about 2,000 hours looking at this report, and they're supposed to normally turn it over to the audit committee and we haven't had it."
Basham says he hopes Worthy's investigation will move quickly.
"I would hope the Grand Jury would convene as soon as possible and do their work as expeditiously as possible and that we would get the info that we need to function as a legislative body in Wayne County as soon as possible," said Basham.
The implication here is that members of Robert Ficano's administration may be the targets of this criminal probe.
Deputy County Executive Jeffrey Collins released this statement:
"We will cooperate fully with this one-man grand jury or any other entity that wants to come in and look at the jail project or any other county project.
The report from the Auditor General seems to have developed a life of its own. At this point, and after seven drafts from the OAG, we feel strongly that it should be released as a public document to stop the speculation and innuendo that has surrounded the review process. The Administration has nothing to hide and we stand by our responses to the OAG."
Worthy is suing Ficano over her budget, so his administration has asked her recuse herself from the investigation into the jail. But now that a Grand Jury is involved, the Grand Jury will decide if any charges should be issued, taking the prosecutor out of the equation.
Stay with 7 Action News for more details.
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