DETROIT (WWJ) – The FBI is investigating rumors that someone tried to bribe Detroit City Council members in an effort to influence the outcome of the race for council president.
Rev. Horace Sheffield, III — a prominent Detroit pastor whose daughter, Mary Sheffield, sits on the council — has been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury about allegations against someone with ties to the Kwame Kilpatrick trial.
Attorney Michael Cafferty, who represents Horace Sheffield, said his client isn’t a target of the probe.
Cafferty said Horace Sheffield heard rumors of illegal activities and warned his daughter to report anything suspicious, and the pastor says he wanted to protect his daughter.
Sources talking to WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas say Tom Hardeman, Sr., formerly of Lakeshore Engineering, is the target of the probe. Hardeman testified against both ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and ex-city contractor Bobby Ferguson in a city corruption trial, but his company also admitted to offering bribes to get business.
Hardeman said Thursday he has not been contacted by the FBI, he’s shocked his name came up, and that any claim that he’s connected to this is outrageous.
“Really, there’s no reason why a businessman like Tom Hardeman would have a business interes in who the city council president is or who the council members are,” said Hardeman spokesman, Jermaine Dickens.
WWJ’s sources say the probe launched as a result of a conversation at a local bar between Horace Sheffield, Detroit Police Chief James Craig, and political consultant Adolph Mongo, about the rumors.
Mary Sheffield told the Detroit News she wasn’t offered a bribe, but she declined to talk to reporters on Thursday.
Brenda Jones, who was elected council president in a 5-4 vote in January, said she knows nothing about an investigation and doesn’t pay attention to “rumors.”
There has been no official comment from federal authorities.
Horace Sheffield has been told to appear before the grand jury on April 24.
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