Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland accused of extorting thousands for political favor

Leland chaired Planning and Economic Development Committee

DETROIT – A lawsuit alleges Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland extorted thousands of dollars in exchange for a political favor.

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday, Robert Carmack allegedly asked Leland for help with a property that owned on Michigan Avenue. Carmack was not able to get help for two years, the lawsuit claims, until a few weeks prior to the August 2017 primary election.

"Leland promised not to sell (Carmack's) property, located at 8124 Michigan Ave., if (Carmack) would give Leland $15,000 for his reelection campaign," Lawrence Garcia, of the City of Detroit Corporation Counsel, said.

The lawsuit says that Carmack went to the FBI for help.

"The FBI asked (Carmack) to wear a wire and pay Leland," Garcia said.

While a camera was secretly recording, Carmack allegedly paid $7,500 to a woman associated with Leland, a payment which was allegedly confirmed by Leland on tape.

The city of Detroit, Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit Land Bank are also named in the lawsuit, for a separate incident in which Carmack says the Land Bank improperly demolished his business. But the city said he didn't own the property.

The city has a quit deed that shows it bought the property from Wayne County in 2010 after Carmack lost it to foreclosure.

The city also referred to another part of the lawsuit that alleges Carmack had a deal with the Kwame Kilpatrick administration to buy Riverfront property. The Duggan administration did not honor the deal.

Carmack was not available for an interview and a message to Leland's chief of staff was not returned.

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