Wayne County Commissioner wants change after questionable golf trip

Lt. Dennis Ramel went on all-expenses paid trip in June; Commissioner writing new language for ethics ordinance


DETROIT – Local 4 News has uncovered another wrinkle in the probe of questionable ethics in the Wayne County Sheriff's Office.

A questionable golf junket by a lieutenant to Colorado could lead to some changes in the way the county does business.

The officer involved is Lt. Dennis Ramel. He spent several days in Colorado in June on a golf trip, a county vendor paying his way.

There were concerns about ethics, but Local 4 News is also hearing the trip was legitimate – but still raising some eyebrows.

Ramel went to SCRAMCON 2013, a golf junket for employees and vendors of Alcohol Monitoring Systems – which is a jailhouse monitoring equipment company.

The metro Detroit distributer paid for Ramel's plane tickets, room costs -- which neared $200 a night -- three-and-a-half days worth of food and drink and golf at the posh Inverness Resort just outside of Denver.

Ramel played his round on county time, coming in second.

His timesheet for the week shows he was on the clock while he was on the links.


Ramel declined to comment to Local 4.

Troubled County Commissioners sought answers. It turns out Ramel's trip is just fine: A special exemption for speaking engagements puts him in the clear.

That surprised Wayne County Commissioner Ray Basham.

"It's troubling and it's also troubling his supervisor says that's  OK," Basham said.

A fellow Wayne County Commissioner, Ilona Varga, echoed the same sentiment.

"Never to get paid by Wayne County and then be out on a golf course. Never. That is never good and no legislation would intend for that to happen," she said.

Basham said he's going to work on an amendment to the ethics ordinance.

"The county needs to make improvements," he said.

Basham said he started working on new language for the ethics ordinance as soon as he heard the all-expenses paid junket for the man who decides which vendor to choose was OK. Basham said it shouldn't continue like that. 

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