“He’s the white mayor-he’s the right mayor” –Rev. Wendell Anthony on Mike Duggan re-election bid; supporters Benny Napoleon, Butch Hollowell, Chief James Craig, more
1986-2002: Duggan Deputy Wayne Co. Executive under corrupt no-bid Ed McNamara
1992: Duggan fired ME for reporting truthfully that Malice Green died from beating by Budzyn/Nevers; abolition of Detroit’s Recorders Court followed
1999-2016: Duggan helped destroy DPS, beginning with 1999 summer contract bid scandal after state takeover, to complete elimination of DPS district in 2016
2004: Duggan destroyed Detroit Medical Center with for-profit hedge fund takeovers
2014 to present: In league with Detroit Police Chief James Craig, Prosecutor Kym Worthy, Black Detroiters killed, harassed by cops; Raynard Burton, 19, just died
2014 to present: Duggan eliminated Detroit-owned assets including DWSD in wake of bankruptcy, increasing water shut-offs, floods, contamination, massive loss of city jobs
By Diane Bukowski
Feb. 18, 2017
DETROIT – Notoriously corrupt Detroiters including Rev. Wendell Anthony, Sheriff Benny Napoleon, and others came forward to shout and applaud “mayor” Mike Duggan’s announcement of his re-election bid on Feb. 3. Their adulation for Detroit’s first white “mayor” since 1974, illegally installed in violation of a Court of Appeals ruling, was mind-boggling. It reeked of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” rhetoric and joyous cries of support from virtual neo-fascists.
Duggan’s lackeys ignored the U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing criminal investigation of the bid-rigging demolition scandal Duggan and downtown czar Dan Gilbert are involved in. Duggan appointed Gilbert to head the “Detroit Blight Removal Task Force,” despite the USDOJ’s criminal charges against Gilbert’s Quicken Loans for its practice of blatant predatory loans. Quicken Loans is fifth in the number of foreclosures carried out by mortgage companies in Detroit.
Federal officials estimate that 60 percent of the work done to demolish Detroit’s affordable and historic housing base, owned largely by Blacks, was carried out by Duggan’s cronies including large white-owned companies like Homrich and Adamo. They got their federally-funded contracts despite being the highest, not the lowest bidders.
Gilbert’s c0-czar and Duggan ally Mike Illitch recently died. He couldn’t take his his new Red Wings arena, 68 percent funded by public tax dollars with him. That project, and others in downtown Detroit and the Cass Corridor (a/k/a “Midtown”) drove rank-and-file Detroiters, largely Black, out of their long-time homes. They are being replaced with high-priced arenas and luxury condo and retail developments, affordable only to interlopers from the suburbs and across the world.
Let’s look at Duggan’s racist and greedy history in Detroit.
MALICE GREEN MURDER, 1992: As a Wayne County’s Deputy Executive, over the Medical Examiner’s office, he fired ME Khalil Jiraki, who refused to back down from his determination that Malice Green was beaten to death by two racist white cops—Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers. Jiraki later won a $2.1 million settlement of his whistleblower lawsuit. But a Black jury’s verdict of “GUILTY” of second-degree murder in the Budzyn-Nevers trial led eventually to the state’s elimination of Recorders Court, where judges and juries were predominantly Black.
Duggan remained in executive level positions under the late, notoriously corrupt no-bid Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara from 1986 to 2001.
- WAYNE CO. PROSECUTOR, NOW ‘MAYOR’ DUGGAN: Duggan was elected Wayne County Prosecutor in 2000. In 2000, Detroit led the nation in the number of killings by police in large cities. Detroiters rose up against killings by cops like Eugene Brown, but neither Duggan nor his successor Kym Worthy ever charged a single Detroit cop with murder.
Worthy refused to charge feds, Detroit. Dearborn cops for the brutal killings of Terrance Kellom, 19, Kevin Matthews, 32, and Janet White.
On Feb. 14, 2017, Detroit cop Jerroll Blanding just killed Raynard Burton, 19, under suspicious circumstances. The Metro Times identified the cop, who calls himself “Fatal Force” on Instagram, as a 22-year veteran of the department who killed a man in 2000 without justifiable cause.
Although Police Chief James Craig was appointed by former Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, he still technically answers to Duggan. Duggan has done nothing to stop the police harassment and frame-ups directed at the new grass-roots Detroit youth organization, New Era Detroit, or the police targeting, harassment and murder of Black youth in Detroit.
- NED’s co-leader, Scrill, just faced two felony counts of assaulting, resisting andobstructing Detroit police as he led an Aug. 2016 NED peaceful community event and march. Scrill has a concealed pistol license (CPL). HE was assaulted by a three cops who crept up on him from behind. A woman cop grabbed him around his waist, and reached around to take his gun from the holster he kept in the front of his pants. She dropped the gun on the ground, endangering not only Scrill, but numerous women and children on the march and watching in the neighborhood. He was then dragged to a police car by the other cops, but finally released with only a ticket. The charges came three months later, but with broad support in the courtroom from both NED and Call ‘em Out members, a jury rapidly acquitted Scrill of both counts.
DUGGAN AND THE DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS, 1999-2016: The current demolition bid scandal was not Duggan’s first. He began his participation in the concerted effort to destroy the renowned public school system of the nation’s largest Black majority city directly after the first state takeover of DPS in 1999. His name dominated the headlines in the Detroit News and Free Press, the Michigan Citizen, and elsewhere, with reports on no-bid scandals involving school renovation projects supervised by Duggan, who profited from contractor kickbacks as he got ready to run for Wayne County Prosecutor, and left DPS schools in absolute disrepair.
Duggan has continued the destruction of DPS in recent years, supporting the plan to abolish the historic district and replace it with the Detroit Public Schools Community District, overseen by a state advisory board and the state School Reform Office (SRO) which is charged with closing five percent of the “lowest-performing” schools across Michigan every years.
The remaining shell district, the Detroit Public Schools, exists only to pay off the gargantuan debt accumulated by DPS under state control. Duggan along with City Council President Brenda Jones both sit on the state advisory board, outnumbered by (or included with) cronies of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Under state control, Detroiters now face the shutdown of 24 schools this year alone. More than 200 schools, including some of the city’s most renowned high schools, have already been shut down beginning in 2005, due to massive debt deliberately accumulated by the state at the urging of Wall Street banks.
Most of Detroit’s schools are now in the hands of for-profit charter operators, in the wake of a similar attack on the majority-Black city of New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the entire public school district has been shut down and replaced by charters which are not accountable to students, parents or the community, but steal public tax dollars meant for public schools to benefit private billionaires.
But activists including New Era Detroit are fighting back. NED held a rally at Pershing High School early this moth, involving the students themselves. It began with a student drum line and was followed by talks from the students themselves, as well as NED leaders who explained the political implications of this attack on the majority Black school district.
VIDEO: NEW ERA DETROIT
- DUGGAN AND DETROIT HEALTH CARE: Supported by his long-time lackey Malik Shabazz, Duggan ordained the shutdown of what remained of Southwest Detroit Hospital, the last of 200 Black hospitals in the city of Detroit. The hospital had become United Community Hospital, eventually run by the city’s only Black-owned HMO, Ultimed. All were driven out of business by the white health care industry, with Duggan’s support.
As his reward, Duggan became president and CEO of the non-profit Detroit Medical Center in 2004. First he tried unsuccessfully to shut down the century-old Detroit Receiving Hospital in the DMC, previously Detroit’s only public hospital, staffed by largely Black workers and owned by the majority-Black city of Detroit.
Then Duggan sold the DMC to the for-profit Vanguard Health Systems, 70 percent owned by the Blackstone Group, a Wall Street hedge fund, in 2010. Hundreds of workers were laid off, and services cut back, Vanguard’s M.O. across the U.S. The DMC was then sold to Tenet, another for-profit hedge fund-owned system.
UNDER DUGGAN, BLACK BUSINESSES UNDER ATTACK: Since Duggan took office, there has been a stepped up attack on the very existence of Black-owned Detroit businesses, including Bert’s at Eastern Market, the Tangerine Supper Club, the takeover of largely Black cab drivers’ jobs by Uber, and other entities. On July 25, 2015, Black business owners protested the war.
“I’ve done business in Detroit for over 47 years,” Bert Dearing said during the rally. “My club was at 150 W. Jefferson beginning in 1957, but I was displaced from there and forced to move to Eastern Market. What programs is our government putting together for people of color to survive in Detroit?”
The poverty rate for children in Detroit has risen to 59 percent, largely due to the lack of employment opportunities in white-dominated businesses for Black workers.
- DUGGAN’S THEFT OF BLACK HOMES, LAND: Meanwhile, Duggan’s buddies Dan Gilbert and other billionaires continue to devastate the city with projects that drive more and more Blacks from their homes. They include the Brush Park project, and the white take-over of downtown Detroit with the building of arenas and creation of upscale, costly apartment residences which cater to whites. It is estimated that over 800 Black families and business owners were driven out from Brush Park by arson, foreclosures, and even murder over the past several decades. Now, Duggan and Gilbert want to turn the neighborhood into one that honors the wealthy white families of yore whose names adorn street signs, and build housing targeted largely toward high-income residents.
Blatant racism has reared its ugly head inside one complex downtown on Campus Martius, the Cadillac Square Apartments, where many white Quicken Loans employees live, with their rent subsidized by the company, owned by Dan Gilbert. But the building for years has housed Black tenants, and many remain. Now they are being threatened with violence and worse if they remain. (See video below).
Duggan has also collaborated with the Wayne County Treasurer in the foreclosure of tens of thousands of mainly Black-owned homes in the City of Detroit, based on tax bills that are fraudulent because the City of Detroit until recently has not conducted annual re-assessments of home values over the past 20 years. Although Duggan ordered a re-assessment, which was completed recently, its results are open to question. There is also no provision for monies to be returned to those whose property taxes were too high because of the lack of annual re-assessments in the past.
- DUGGAN CARRIES WATER FOR MICHIGAN GOV. SNYDER, OTHER PERPETRATORS OF DETROIT BANKRUPTCY, DWSD TAKEOVER
Duggan’s most disastrous role since he illegally took office as “mayor” in 2014 has been to carry the water (literally) for Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in their phony bankruptcy takeover of the city’s assets, jobs, and services. Duggan signed the contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority in June, 2015, giving up all but a few minor pipelines belonging to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.
Since then, massive lay-offs have taken place in DWSD, obliterating at least 41 percent of the workforce in the nation’s third largest public water and sewerage department, and eliminated all but a few positions in the Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plan, the largest such plant in the country, and third largest in the world.
WWTP workers attributed Detroit’s huge floods of 2014, along with the contamination of Lake Erie outside Toledo, to the shutdown of three major sewage pumps due to lack of worker oversight. Since then, under the GLWA, large parts of Detroit’s eastern suburbs have experienced repeated floods including a massive main breakdown that has destroyed numerous homes. There are continued reports of contaminated water from Bob-Lo Island south to Toledo.
An equally massive program of water shut-offs has gone forth under Duggan, targeting the poorest residents of the city as the GLWA raises water rates. Sewage rates are disproportionately raised for Detroit residents, allegedly because of delinquencies in water bills.
Duggan’s Chief Corporation Counsel Butch Hollowell went to Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway in December, 2015, asking him to illegally seize control of the trial of the “Homrich 9” from 36th District Court, which Hathaway happily did.
The Homrich 9 were arrested as they blocked the entrance to the Homrich facility Duggan’s administration had contracted to carry out tens of thousands of water shut-offs to Detroit residents, shut-offs that continue to this day largely due to his sale of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Great Lakes Water Authority. Activists twice blockaded the entrance to the Homrich facility in 2014. Below is video of the first blockade in May, 2014, during which Agnes Hitchcock of Call ’em Out, among others, is seen being arrested.
Video above by Demeeko Williams of the Detroit Water Brigade
Call’em Out’s Sambo Awards Dinner!
Monday, February 27, 2017 6-10 pm
111 Kirby west of Woodward Detroit (west of DIA)
Tickets $10: Proceeds to support New Era Detroit’s Mission
Call 313-874-2792 for tickets and further info
Some related stories:
Outstanding historical account.