DETROIT (WWJ) – Three Dearborn Heights men have been indicted for bribing Garden City’s mayor, police chief and council members in their bid to open a medical marijuana dispensary.
The U.S. Attorney’s office says Mike Baydoun, 54, Ali Baydoun, 52, and Jalal Baydoun, 38, gave $15,000 to the Garden City officials in hopes of winning approval to open a medical marijuana dispensary near Ford Road and Hubbard Street. Investigators say the Baydouns also placed $150,000 in an escrow account for future bribes to obtain a permit to grow 1,500 marijuana plants.
Click here to read the indictment (.pdf format)
The scheme unfolded in 2016. Under existing Garden City ordinances, only two medical marijuana dispensaries could be operated within city limits, and those vacancies were filled. In order for the Baydouns to operate their own medical marijuana business in Garden City, the city council had to amend its laws.
According to the indictment, Mike Baydoun in September told one city council member he would buy a police car and pay for one police officer’s yearly wages in exchange for approval for the medical marijuana grow center. He also allegedly offered to make a monthly bribe payment of $20,000 to two city officials or give them 20-percent of the growing center proceeds, which could amount to as much as $40,000 a month. A day later, Mike Baydoun offered two city officials and an unknown official from the state of Michigan $150,000 or 25-percent of the proceeds in exchange for their assistance in obtaining a permit to grow 1,500 marijuana plants in Garden City.
On December 2, the indictment says the men handed an official an envelope with $15,000 cash, apparently $5,000 for each of the three council members. The indictment says the bribes were offered as a way to secure the votes needed to change the city ordinance.
The three face bribery and conspiracy charges.