DETROIT – Detroit officials are opening an investigation into Mayor Mike Duggan and the city's interactions with the Make Your Date nonprofit organization.
The City of Detroit Office of Inspector General announced that an investigation was opened Friday.
The investigation is focusing on whether Duggan or any city officials abused their authority by giving the nonprofit organization preferential treatment, officials said.
Results will be shared with the public when the investigation is complete, officials said.
Here is a statement from Chief of Staff Alexis Wiley:
"We welcome an independent review by the Office of the Inspector General of the City’s role in Wayne State’s Make Your Date program, a program that’s helped thousands of high risk Detroit women deliver healthy babies.
"An unbiased, thorough review of the facts will demonstrate that the central claims and unsubstantiated suggestions made by the Detroit Free Press are completely false. The City’s efforts entirely supported Wayne State University and its Make Your Date program. No city funds were ever provided to a Make Your Date non-profit and no private money was ever raised for it. Every dollar of city funds was provided to and managed by Wayne State University. Dr. Hassan, a world renowned expert in reducing preterm birth, volunteered her time for this program and never any received any compensation.
"We expect the OIG’s review will conclude that the city’s role in supporting this important program to help more Detroit women have healthy babies was handled transparently, ethically and appropriately."
Wayne State University issued the following statement:
"We welcome this review following the questionable reporting from the Detroit Free Press. While Wayne State University is not the target of the article, we feel compelled to defend a program critical to the health of Detroit mothers and babies, and a dedicated, talented Wayne State faculty member who was maligned based on implications and innuendos.
Over a period of several months Wayne State provided an extensive amount of information about Make Your Date to the Free Press, including a detailed financial accounting of the program administered by the university. Despite multiple explanations and evidence to the contrary, the paper still implied that Make Your Date was administered by a separate 501(c)(3). This is simply false.
Even the Free Press admitted there was absolutely no wrongdoing in the program, though they failed to include in their reporting salient information that would have further demonstrated this, among which is that Dr. Hassan earned exactly zero dollars for her volunteer efforts on this important cause. They also declined our offer to provide interviews with women who have benefitted from the program.
Most importantly, what is clearly underemphasized is the value of the Make Your Date program. Detroit has the highest preterm birth rate in the country. Because of the city’s patient population and Wayne State’s excellence in prenatal care and research the university was selected to host one of only two National Institutes of Health research branches outside of Bethesda, Maryland – the Perinatal Research Branch (PRB) of the National Institutes of Health. The Make Your Date program was launched based on research done at the PRB, in which Dr. Hassan played a prominent role, and together the programs advance the understanding of prenatal care while providing care to mothers most in need.
Since its inception, Make Your Date has helped thousands of pregnant women in Detroit by connecting them to see a doctor or midwife, testing, treatment, counseling and other resources needed throughout pregnancy."