Judge orders feds to release records of investigation into Detroit Land Bank

Posted at 6:38 PM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-13 18:38:02-05

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Allen told the federal government findings in its investigation are public record.

He ordered the feds to unseal subpoenas served to the Detroit Land Bank Authority, which is part of a criminal investigation into the city’s demolition program.

“I applaud Judge Allen, the ruling,” said Activist Robert Davis. “I’m very thankful that he was willing to allow the public to be out to the public for the public to see. It was a courageous.”

The feds are investigating how the city and demolition contractors tore down thousands of dilapidated homes since 2014 with millions in federal dollars.

The investigation started when the price to demolish homes more than doubled this year.

Davis alleges money the Land Bank received from the federal government was used for other reasons.

“The Land Bank is important because the city of Detroit is in need of a revitalization of its neighborhoods,” said Davis. “Especially when you have naked and dilapidated homes scattered through out the community. Our homes need to be revitalized and the federal money coming from that was supposed to assist in that endeavor.”

Craig Fahle with the Land Bank told 7 Action News they have been cooperating with the investigation.

“We pledged full cooperation in this investigation, from the very beginning and we will continue to do so and we will of course comply with the judge’s order,” said Fahle.

Fahle said they want to be transparent as the investigation continues.

The federal government had suspended money to the Land Bank over the summer, but they have since given more funds under more scrutiny.

“The federal government just gave us another $40 million to continue Detroit’s demolition program." says Fahle. "Taking down almost 11,000 homes in the city of Detroit since 2014. We look forward to continuing the work.”

The subpoenas are expected to be released January 21th.