Failed Wayne County jail could cost taxpayers $155 million

If site of failed Wayne County jail project is sold, taxpayers would be footing hefty bill for nothing

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

DETROIT - In the words of one Wayne County commissioner, "it's an absolute disaster."

How did it come to this? Construction of a new Wayne County jail was supposed to be a money saver. Instead, with the project barely out of the ground it already was just about $100 million over budget.

Local 4 first broke the news of the Wayne County prosecutor's criminal probe into the fiasco. The central question: Did current and former Ficano administration know going in that the jail was fated to be about $100 million more than it was budgeted for?

More: Wayne County jail project under investigation

That investigation is ongoing as county commissioners got a look at the final tally to the taxpayers on Wednesday. If Wayne County walks away from this and sells the site, it will have cost the county $155 million for nothing.

Right now, it's all about negotiations to sell the property. The last two standing are Dan Gilbert and Steve Apostolopoulos and his father Andreas Apostolopoulos, who own the Pontiac Silverdome and Penobscot Building.

Local 4 has learned the negotiations are going so-so. There is a possibility that both Gilbert and Apostolopoulos could go in on the property. Commissioners said Wednesday night that they are not felling very hopeful about the sale prospects.

More: Penobscot purchased by familiar Canadian millionaire

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