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Detroiter wants city to pay for repairs after worker caught slacking off

Posted: 11:15 PM, Jun 01, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-02 00:02:37-04

The 7 Investigators busted a City of Detroit worker for spending hours at home, instead of doing his job. Now one long-time city taxpayer says he got into a car accident because that worker failed to do his work.

On several different days, this past fall and winter, the 7 Investigators cameras were rolling as a traffic sign investigator for the City of Detroit pulled his city truck into his driveway and then spent hours at home.

Last winter we showed you how Curtis Jackson Jr. scooped salt, used his leaf blower, and basically hung out at his west side home, while he should have been nearly 20 miles away patrolling the city’s east side.

“We want to talk to you about your work hours.  Is there a reason you’ve been coming home from work so long during the day,” 7 Investigator Heather Catallo asked Jackson in February 2017.  

“I don’t come home,” said Jackson.

But City officials disagreed, and they fired Jackson after our story aired. 

“We expect for our sign investigators to be out in the field the entire full work day, identifying any signs that they come across that require replacement,” said Detroit Department of Public Works Director Ron Brundidge in February.

“Your job is important and we pay you to do the job, and we truly need you to do the job,” said Alvin Scott.

Up until he was let go in March, Jackson was responsible for checking any damaged traffic signs in the City Council District where Alvin lives.

The life-long city resident says, on February 2, 2017, he was driving home from coaching volleyball when a car slammed into him.

“All of a sudden -- bam-- car right out in front of me,” said Alvin.

Alvin had been driving north on busy Hayes St.  He says the car that was heading east on Hazelridge towards the intersection sped off after the collision.  Alvin later realized the stop sign for the traffic on Hazelridge was flattened onto the ground, and he says the families who live there say the sign had been down for at least a month. 

“The neighbor told me there had been 4 or 5 accidents at that intersection since the first of the year,” said Alvin.

In fact, four months after Alvin’s accident, the stop sign is still not installed properly. 

“I heard like a bump and a screech,” said witness Aprilla Brown.  She also told us says that stop sign is regularly flattened to the ground.

“There's no reason for him to even have his car totaled.  He could have been hurt, we've had deaths with some of these accidents,” said Brown.

Alvin only had basic insurance on this car and can’t afford the $5800 it’ll cost to fix it.

“The city is responsible, because the city is responsible for making its highways safe for vehicle conveyance,” said Alvin.

After he saw our investigation about the sign shop investigator spending so much time at home rather than writing up work orders for damaged signs, Alvin filed a claim with the city law department for help paying for the repairs.

“I need to find out if my city is willing to support and make whole again a born-and-raised property owner, tax paying, voting citizen,” said Alvin.

But the City of Detroit Law Department denied Alvin Scott’s claim.

Corporation Counsel Melvin “Butch” Hollowell says this claim falls with the scope of governmental immunity, which means the city is immune from claims for conduct arising out of a governmental function.   In other words, the City won’t be paying for the repairs to Alvin’s car.

Also, the Detroit DPW has now finished installing GPS trackers into their city vehicles.  Now the city can better monitor where their workers are throughout the day.

If you have a story for Heather, please call her at 248-827-4473 or email her at hcatallo@wxyz.com