Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he did not know a towing contractor was working with the FBI as a confidential informant when he shared the informant’s identity with city officials.
Duggan opened the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference on Tuesday with an impromptu media conference addressing a report that morning from The Detroit News that linked the mayor to “a chain of events that outed a confidential FBI informant and alerted a target of an ongoing investigation of bribery, extortion and fraud at City Hall.”
Speaking to reporters, the mayor said he was not aware that the source’s identity was being protected but acknowledged that he shared the informant’s name with members of the Detroit Police Department and Chuck Raimi, the city’s former acting corporation counsel.
- Duggan’s third term will see a drastically different Detroit City Council
- Spivey pleads guilty to a bribery charge, must resign seat
Duggan said he divulged the information after he was told by former Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey in spring 2021 that he was under investigation for corruption.
“I have never disclosed the identity of anyone I knew to be a confidential source in my life,” Duggan said on Tuesday. “I would not do that. I did not know there was any confidential source involved in this case.”
Duggan did not say when the subsequent conversations occurred and declined to say whether he shared the name with anyone outside city government.
A federal judge sentenced Spivey to two years in prison for felony bribery earlier this year as part of a wider federal corruption investigation focused on the Detroit City Council, the Detroit Police Department and towing operations.
Spivey admitted to accepting $39,500 between 2018 and 2020 in exchange for influencing a vehicle towing ordinance proposed at the time.
Spivey admitted he accepted bribes from an undercover law enforcement agent and a confidential FBI source. The source was involved in the towing industry and was approached by the FBI concerning corruption within the city government, according to court documents.
“Andre Spivey contacted me to say ‘I made a terrible mistake. I got in financial trouble. I borrowed a large amount of money from a tower,’” Duggan said.
“He told me the tower; it was a tower we knew very well from our investigations and our litigation. He says ‘I meant to pay him back and I didn’t. The feds have us on a wire. I expect us to get indicted soon.’”
Duggan said Tuesday that he disclosed the tower’s identity with the Detroit Police Department, Raimi and the city law department to prevent them from doing business with the tower.
The mayor said he was not informed by Spivey or federal investigators that the source’s identity was being protected.
“Andre Spivey never said a word about a confidential source,” Duggan said. “Nothing like that. I walked out of that conversation believing that I had just been told that I have a city councilman who has taken a bribe from a dishonest tower. Now, if anybody has suggested there was a confidential source involved, I wouldn’t have said a word.”
Federal prosecutors accused Spivey of leaking the informant’s identity to the mayor, according to The Detroit News report, which could risk the confidential source’s safety.
Duggan said police and the city were making efforts to “get rid” of dishonest towers themselves, noting that the Board of Police Commissioners voted to eliminate a no-bid permitting system.
Duggan, highlighting his past experience as a Wayne County prosecutor, said he would not intentionally reveal the identity of a confidential source. Duggan declined to say who else, outside the city officials, he shared information with.
“No one, to this day, from any federal agency has ever reached out to me and suggested that I did anything that was wrong,” Duggan said.
“I’ve not heard a word from them … Nobody from any federal agency ever suggested to me that this tower had become a confidential source, or I would have honored that.”
The fact that Spivey and the contractor were caught on wire in that exchange doesn’t mean the contractor was dishonest. He could have simply been working at the behest of the FBI all along.
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