Wayne County jail project under investigation

$300 million jail project halted due to budget overrun; auditor general investigates


DETROIT – All work is halted on what was supposed to be a new Wayne County jail budgeted at $300 million.

Now, due to cost overruns, the jail is slated to come in at closer to $400 million. How this kind of budget overrun happens on a project that was barely off the ground is the subject of an internal investigation by the county's auditor general. The investigation soon will be released to the Wayne County Board of Commissioners.

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What's being investigated is how this deal came to be, how it was originally budgeted and whether high-ranking county officials knew that $300 million for the project wasn't an accurate assessment. Those are the specifics Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is being asked to investigate. Her office gave Local 4 no comment when asked about the status of the investigation.

Meanwhile, Local 4 has learned that among the issues raising eyebrows are a series of email exchanges about the project between three top county staff members, one of which is no longer employed by Wayne County.

Read more: Who's to blame for halted Wayne County jail construction?

County Executive Robert Ficano's team says they have seen excerpts of the report but not the entirety of it.

"We welcome the Auditor General taking a look at any County projects, but he has a professional responsibility to get all the facts correct before issuing a report. He has not shared his complete or final report with us, however the excerpts we have seen have significant factual errors," said Jeffrey Collins, deputy Wayne County executive.

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