Mullin Hands Over $135K Check To Wayne County

Former County Economic Development Chief Repays Controversial Severance Package

Published On: Nov 02 2011 09:20:41 AM EDT   Updated On: Oct 27 2011 02:08:23 AM EDT
DETROIT -

Wayne County's former economic development director has returned money she received as part of a controversial severance deal that has led to an FBI probe.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano said Thursday morning that the county had received a $135,900 check from Turkia Mullin.

The severance deal was for $200,000. Mullin received $135,900 after taxes last month after she left her old job in August to run Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus.

Ficano had earlier defended Mullin's severance deal, but later said protocol was not followed. An FBI investigation has ensued and agents served subpoenas at the county headquarters this past week.

Once the information about Mullin?s severance package surfaced in late September, Mullin had said she would voluntarily pay the money back.

Ficano announced the pay back during a surprise visit to the Special Committee on Employee Compensation meeting.

That's where he told Local 4, "We generally have always acknowledged that in severance situations that there was mistakes made and to be responsible for that. At this point we're going to proceed on and make sure that things, that that doesn't happen again and that we're going to proceed on to make sure that we have the best county government possible."

A Wayne County Airport Authority spokesman, Scott Wintner, said Tuesday that Mullin said the county would have a check from her by the end of this week.

"It's a lot of money (not the kind of sum you leave sitting in a checking account) so it has taken her some time to get her personal finances arranged such that she has the cash back in hand to turn-over," Wintner said in an email to Local 4.

Ficano said he is sure the investigation will show his staff has done nothing wrong. He has since suspended a severance package that would have paid about 300 appointees nearly a half-year's salary if they quit around election time.