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Wayne Co. Executive Ficano responds to legal bill request

Robert Ficano

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – Wayne Co. Executive Robert Ficano is expected to ask county commissioners to approve a controversial contract this morning.

Ficano wants taxpayers to foot his administration's legal bills.

Ficano's spokesperson confirms this morning that the administration has hired a legal team to answer FBI subpoenas his office has received and Ficano wants the keep that legal team working on providing investigators the information they're seeking.

The FBI wants documents, files, contracts and emails as it probes possible corruption within county government.

The legal team has been hired to handle those requests and the county executive wants commissioners to approve a $350,000 contract to retain the firm to continue it's work representing the administration during the investigation.

Ficano's spokesperson says the legal team has a good relationship with the investigators during the scandal and Ficano wants that relationship to continue.

Brooke Blackwell, Ficano's Press Secretary, released the following statement Wednesday morning:

Wayne County is committed to cooperating fully and efficiently with the current federal investigation. The eight subpoenas that have been received by the county to date require that voluminous records and emails be collected from various departments and organized in an appropriate manner for delivery to the federal authorities.

Since his retention approximately six weeks ago, Thomas Cranmer has developed an excellent cooperative working relationship for the county with the U.S. Attorneys office and the FBI. Attorneys from the county's Office of Corporation Counsel and other staff have worked tirelessly on this matter under the supervision of Mr. Cranmer and colleagues from Miller Canfield, who bring a specialized expertise to the supervision of the county's compliance with the subpoenas.

The administration began the contract for under $50,000, as allowed under the county's contract procedures.  An extension of Mr. Cranmer's contract is being brought to the County Commission at this time before services are incurred beyond the limit of the initial contract. Chairman Woronchak made abundantly clear that in the exercise of its fiduciary responsibilities, the commission would not consider a retroactive contract with a past due invoice for services already rendered. The contract modification is being submitted for the commission's review at this time in good faith compliance with the Chairman's requirement in this regard.

 

The FBI has served subpoenas at county offices as it looks into money given to a former Ficano appointee, Turkia Mullin.

That "severance scandal" has led investigators to question several other county contracts and deals.