Michigan's AG charges 7 Detroit building inspectors who are accused of accepting bribes

(WXYZ) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced charges in another public corruption case in Detroit.

The AG announced that 17 charges have been filed against seven Detroit building inspectors for accepting bribes.

The charges were filed against current and former Detroit Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department inspectors Eric Miller, 48, John Jones, 54, Bob Watson, 51, Phil Lockhart, 56, Kenneth Russ, 51, Moreno Taylor, 52, and Delos Matthews, 53.

This is the result of a joint state and federal investigation that has been going on for months, led by the FBI. 

One small businessman who just opened a new car repair shop tells 7 Action News he knew city inspectors were crooked from the beginning.

The owner did not want to be identified and says a city inspector told him he had code violations and he'd have to go to court to face expensive fines and costs.

That businessman says he was offered the option to pay the inspector and it would all go away.  The owner called the FBI who came in, wired his business and the inspector walked right into the sting.

The Southeastern Michigan Public Corruption Task Force is comprised of local law enforcement, Michigan State Police and the FBI.

According to Schuette, the seven men worked for the Detroit Building and Safety Department.  Some of the charges include ignoring issues that violated code, phony inspections that never took place and falsified architectural drawings.

Six of the 7 have surrendered and are charged with 10-year felonies and other misdemeanor charges. The individuals are expected to be arraigned Friday.

 In at least one case, a small business owner called the FBI after a city inspector tried to shake him down for a bribe.  He allowed his business to be wired by the feds who then recorded the inspector when he returned, allegedly to pick up his bribe money.

The FBI seized several files from the Detroit Building and Safety Department earlier this year .

 

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