Reporting Pat Sweeting
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Wayne County’s top elected official has hired a lawyer to represent him in an FBI investigation of a severance deal with a high-ranking employee who quit to run Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
FBI agents were inside the Wayne County headquarters office in downtown Detroit Wednesday afternoon. This comes following word a day ago that the FBI is investigating $200,000 in severance paid to former Wayne County Development Director Turkia Mullin.
Mullin received the payout after leaving her old job to take over as chief executive of Detroit Metro Airport. Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano said last week that protocol was not followed in approving Mullin’s severance.
“Today we received a professional serving of a subpoena for records from the FBI and will provide any and all documentation,” said Ficano, in a statement. “We do intend to fully cooperate and look forward to putting this matter behind us.”
Attorney Steve Fishman, who is representing Ficano, said it’s a “prudent” move, nothing more. County spokeswoman Brooke Blackwell promised full cooperation.
The FBI is not commenting on the case.
Speaking to WWJ Newsradio 950′s Pat Sweeting outside the headquarters, Wayne County Commissioner Bernard Parker said the controversy surrounding Mullin’s severance payment doesn’t make the county look very good.
Parker added, however, that he never had any suspicion that anything improper was going on.
“I just think that there wasn’t a transparency in [Ficano's] administration that could have resulted in this taken place,” he said.
“He was just reluctant to give out information that he should have made available to the public,” Parker said.
Following an internal investigation, Ficano announced last Friday that two county employees were suspended and another fired over the severance debacle.
Parker said the punishments for those involved should have been more severe.
Mullin, who initially said she deserved the payment, eventually returned the money after much criticism.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.