E-mails, records show maneuvering in demolition deals
"One month before the Detroit Land Bank Authority released an audit detailing an improper billing scheme involving some demolition contractors, Timothy Drakeford signed an affidavit saying he was directed by Aradondo Haskins, a former Detroit Building Authority employee, to adjust his demolition prices.
The Free Press obtained the affidavit and related e-mails Tuesday through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The records shed new light on aspects of the city’s demolition program, which is under federal investigation, and its apparent bidding practices.
...The Land Bank audit, released last week, is the latest complication for Detroit’s troubled blight demolition program, which is under a federal criminal investigation.
Questions about Mayor Mike Duggan’s demolition program began swirling a year ago after it was revealed costs had risen more than 60%.
...More than $250 million from the federal Hardest Hit Fund has been allocated to Detroit for its demolition program.
The money has helped the city tear down more than 10,000 blighted properties since Duggan took office in 2014.
In addition to the federal probe of the program, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority is conducting its own investigation.
...The U.S. Treasury Department suspended the city demolition program between August and October of this year after discovering problems with how federal money was spent in Detroit..."