Tracking down the dirt dumpers

Posted: 7:03 PM, May 31, 2016
Updated: 2016-05-31 19:03:45-04

Detroit’s demolition program is in full throttle and several homes on the city’s west side are slated to be torn down, including houses on Inverness Street. 

Finishing the tear downs will require a lot of fill dirt, but according to city officials, dozens of dirt piles dumped on vacant lots in the neighborhood are against policy and considered illegal dumping.

After being alerted by neighbors, 7 Action News reporter Ronnie Dahl set out to find where the dirt came from and who was responsible for the dumping. 

On a recent afternoon, 7Action News caught a truck hauler in action, dumping his load of dirt. He said his name was Fred and the trucking company he was working for was Diponio Contracting out of Shelby Township. 

Fred said they call someone in the morning and are told where to dump the dirt, however he wouldn’t say who they called. He also said the dirt came from road projects around the area. 

7Action News reached out to his boss. When he didn’t call, Ronnie paid a visit to the company in the suburbs.  The boss wasn’t in at the time, but a few minutes later, Tina Bassett called. 

After some research, she says the trucking company was doing a favor for the land bank and the contractor, Timothy Drakeford with Direct Construction told the truck hauler where to dump the dirt.

Drakeford told 7 Action News, it was all a misunderstanding. He has since paid to have the soil tested, and claims the report found the dirt useable for fill dirt.

Brian Farkas with the Detroit Building Authority tells 7 Action News stockpiling dirt is against policy and considered illegal dumping.

The case has been turned over to the Detroit Police Department for investigation.

You can report illegal dumping, scrapping or graffiti by calling the tip line, 313-235-4359 or by emailing

If you have an issue with a city hired contractor working on house demolitions in your neighborhood, call 1-844-DET-DEMO.

Have a story for Ronnie? Send her an email at