Azzam Elder speaks with Local 4 on Wayne County scandal

Elder says he voluntarily suspended himself before resigning

Published On: Nov 04 2011 08:31:32 PM EDT   Updated On: Nov 04 2011 08:37:43 PM EDT
DETROIT -

Azzam Elder resigned Thursday afternoon from his position as Wayne County deputy executive.

He sat down with Local 4 Friday to talk about his job duties and departure from a county that is under an FBI probe.

"The roughest sport in America is politics," Elder said.

He spent 16 years working in county government and the past five working for Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. Ellder said he never imagined his job with Wayne County would end the way it did on Thursday.

"I'm like the quarterback. Mr. Ficano calls the plays and I try to implement and get him to the finish line," he said.

Elder said as Fcano's deputy he was simply doing what he was told.

"I didn't do anything inappropriate. That's the honest to God truth," he said.

Ficano suspended Elder for 30 days for his hand in former director of Wayne County' economic development Turkia Mullin's $200,000 severance package.

"When you look at who negotiated the terms for (Mullin) leaving, they did. It wasn't me," Elder said. "When you say, 'Who signed the letter?' Mr. Ficano signed the letter. When you ask, 'Who drafted the letter?' I didn't draft the letter. Now, was there a change to the letter? Yes. Was it at my direction? Was it my idea? No. Was the idea that it be undated my idea? Absolutely not."

Elder said he welcomed the FBI's investigation into the county's offices.

"When the FBI did come with subpoenas I truly felt a sigh of relief," he said. "The politicians have a whole different agenda."

He said he thinks the FBI is the best thing to happen to the politicians at Wayne County.

"In the end, if you want to come review everything, me personally, I am very confident that I have nothing to hide," Elder said.

Elder said he wanted to make it clear that he voluntarily suspended himself for 30 days before resigning.