Lawsuit alleges extortion by Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland

DETROIT (WXYZ) - A lawsuit filed in Federal Court by a businessman claims Detroit City Council member Gabe Leland demanded $15,000 in payments weeks before the August Primary last year in exchange for helping Robert Carmack keep his property.

Carmack was on 7 Action News two years ago when a demolition crew hired by the city tore down his building on Michigan Avenue. 

Carmack said at the time he had resolved all of his issues with the city to keep his property,

“I gave them a copy of my deed. They took it off the emergency demolition list. I paid the $135 and if they didn’t think I owned it why did they take my money?”

Detroit City Attorney Lawrence Garcia told 7 Investigator Jim Kiertzner today, “Mr. Carmack grossly misrepresents the facts and the legal records will bear me out.”

Carmack claims Councilman Leland demanded $15,000 last summer on a promise the city would not sell the property. 

Carmack claims he paid a Leland campaign staffer $7,500 and that he was wearing an FBI wire. 

Carmack also claims Leland acknowledged he received the money, asked Carmack to fix Leland’s secretary’s car for free, and told Carmack he would do what he wanted with the property. But then put it on the city council agenda to sell it. 

We tried to find Leland at the City Council office and his home today. We were told he is not available. 

The FBI is not commenting on its investigation into public corruption.

Leland was reelected last year. 

Carmack’s lawsuit is seeking $300,000 in damages.

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