Detroit councilman Gabe Leland indicted on bribery charges

Leland indicted on bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery charges

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DETROIT – Detroit City Councilman Gabriel Leland has had federal officials on his heels for months, but he was officially indicted Thursday on bribery charges.

The U.S. Attorney's Office indicted Leland on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and two counts of bribery.

Leland, 35, of Detroit, has been under the microscope for a while. None of the other Detroit City Council members wanted to be on camera for a reaction to the indictment, and there's no word from Leland or his attorney.

Local 4 called Leland, knocked on his front door, and checked his office at Detroit City Hall, but he was nowhere to be found.

According to the indictment, Leland used consultant Elisa Grubbs, whose information in the case dropped Wednesday, as a go-between with a business owner who owned a parcel the city was looking to sell.

"Leland would offer to delay or prevent the sale of the property by using his official position as a member of the Detroit City Council, including by casting votes to delay or prevent the sale in exchange for payment of $15,000 and free auto body work by the business owner," the indictment says.

The indictment also contains quotes from a wire-tapped conversation with Leland, as planning and development committee chair, telling the businessman, "I held it up again. Yeah, it stayed right in the committee, brother. I should ask for $30,000, but I'm nice to you."

"A sitting member of the Detroit City Council engaging in bribery is an extreme breach of the trust of the people of Detroit that badly undermines their faith in local government," U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said. "As was starkly demonstrated by the prosecution of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and several corrupt members of his administration, federal law enforcement is dedicated to rooting out and severely punishing corruption at every level of city governance."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan called the allegations "deeply upsetting and disappointing."

"This is a very unfortunate development for our city at a time when so many things have been going right," Duggan said in a statement.

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