DETROIT (WXYZ) - The owners of the Ambassador Bridge are pushing for a second span, but are they playing by the rules?
On Thursday, we uncovered a private deal at a public meeting that is raising that question.
We witnessed something you weren't supposed to see--and it happened right under the nose of the US Coast Guard.
Inside a historic church in southwest Detroit, the future of another international bridge between the US and Canada was at stake.
People from the community came to speak for and against a permit request by the owners of the Ambassador Bridge to build a second span right next to it.
The US Coast Guard hosted the forum and will ultimately decide if a permit is granted.
The request comes from the same people who also own the old blighted train depot in Corktown.
But, outside in the hallway, we discovered a twist. An attendee told us he'd been paid to attend and show support to the federal government.
We asked him to prove this was real. So he let us follow him to a gas station around the corner where a car was waiting - with cold hard cash.
Minutes later, he showed us the money up close - $75 cash.
We asked the bridge officials if anyone was paid to show their support and got this answer:
“No, we support a lot of community groups and donate to charities. We’ve made a lot of friends through the years, and we’re going to continue to do that,” said Detroit International Bridge Company President Dan Stamper.
We're told that a decision on a permit could come within weeks. Meantime, the state is moving ahead with its own bridge to Canada.