Report: Detroit Demolition Program Subject Of Grand Jury Investigation

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Detroit’s massive demolition program is now the subject of a federal grand jury probe, according to publish reports.

The troubled program had already been under investigation by the FBI to determine if federal funds were misappropriated as Detroit spent nearly $200 million to demolish houses under the leadership of Mayor Mike Duggan.

Tuesday’s new developments were reported by the Detroit News, which says as many as 30 contractors and city agencies may have been subpoenaed to testify or provide documents.

The News cited “sources familiar with the investigation” as well as copy of subpoenas obtained by the newspaper. Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor, told The News the involvement of a grand jury “could signal a broadening of the investigation.”

Mayor Duggan’s Chief of Staff, Alexis Wiley says city has fully cooperated with this investigation from the very beginning and will continue to do so.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment Tuesday.

This all comes after a review early this year uncovered about $7.3 million in billing issues tied to the demolition program, resulting in a temporary halt to federal funding. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority said that some federal funds used by the Detroit Land Bank Authority were improperly reimbursed, but the city said controls have since been tightened.

No charges have been filed.

Vowing to clean up the neighborhoods, Duggan pushed the program that has led to the demolition of more than 11,000 dilapidated structures in Detroit. The mayor announce in February he plans to run for a second four-year term.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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