Former personnel director testifies Elder approved Mullin's severance

DETROIT (WXYZ) - It's the latest chapter of a he-said, she-said that's entering month three in Wayne County.  Now, a former county official is going under oath, and he's pointing the finger at Azzam Elder.

He has been mostly silent since the severance scandal broke in September.  And according to a deposition filed Wednesday in Wayne County Circuit Court, Azzam Elder is the one who approved the controversial $200,000 payment to his former employee, Turkia Mullin.

The revelation was made under penalty of perjury by former Human Resources Director Tim Taylor.  Taylor was being deposed in an unrelated lawsuit against the county. 

His version differs vastly from Mullin's, who told our Heather Catallo in the days after the scandal that it was the County Executive who signed-off on her payout.

But when Ficano has been asked just who approved the payout, he's repeatedly dodged the question.

His former deputy Azzam Elder would not speak to 7 Action News on camera, but his story is different than Taylor's.  He has said publicly that Ficano signed off on Mullin's severance.

Elder was suspended in October for his role in the scandal, even though Ficano has not said publicly what it was.  He resigned from his position in November, along with corporation counsel Marianne Talon, who has since accepted a lower-paid county job. County commissioners have asked Talon to tell her side of the story, but Ficano hasn't given her permission to address them.  His spokeswoman said he won't until the federal investigation is over.

Elder has been quiet since leaving Wayne County last month.  But it's likely he'll soon break his silence: He's retained the Fieger law firm to handle any possible litigation against the county

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