Trending
Most Read
  • Metro Times seeking stories of college sexual assault

    The Metro Times is looking to hear your experiences will sexual assault on a Michigan college campus — from anything to how many sexual assault prevention programs, rape kits or crisis centers you may have had access to, to how the administration or local law enforcement handled your experience. If you, or anyone you know might be interested in talking to a reporter at the Metro Times, please email us at college@metrotimes.com.

    The post Metro Times seeking stories of college sexual assault appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Get ready for National Tequila Day!

    Thursday, July 24th marks National Tequila Day, and forget everything you know about the beverage. Those nasty old “tequilas” of yesterday were find for doing body shots, but tequila has become something of a luxury spirit while few were paying attention. Have you tried all the varieties of tequila? Can you tell the difference between blanco, joven, reposed, añejo and extra añejo?  If your local bar doesn’t have the stuff that will help you celebrate this important holiday, there are several bars that cater just to the tequila fan. There’s Aqua Rum and Tequila Bar in the MGM Grand Detroit Casino in Detroit, as well as Rojo Mexican Bistro in Novi, which offers more than 100 kinds of tequila, and Taqo Detroit, a new spot serving American-friendly Mexican fare and serving an astonishing variety of tequilas, more than 200 in all. Been waiting for a reason to drink up this south-of-the-border nectar? You got it. Guzzle responsibly.    

    The post Get ready for National Tequila Day! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs

    In light of worldwide attention on its efforts to cut water service for thousands of Detroit residents, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department said today it would host a Water Affordability Fair on August 2nd to explain options available to those facing financial hardship. DWSD officials said in a news release today the fair will be take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the department’s Eastside Customer Service Center at 13303 E. McNichols. The move came on the heels of growing pressure from opponents of the initiative and criticism from the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s Chapter 9 case. “Every customer that has come to DWSD with a legitimate financial hardship has not had their water service terminated,” said Darryl Latimer, DWSD deputy director, in a statement. “In cases where the water has been shut off, it’s been restored. We keep hearing at DWSD that there are poor people who are not receiving the assistance that they need, so we want to help them and we want to make it as easy as possible for the to receive that help. That’s why we created the Water Affordability Fair – ease of access and ease of assistance. We are here to […]

    The post DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation

    The folks at Thrillist have again compiled their annual list of the nation’s best burgers, and Southeast Michigan, it seems, is well represented. Ranking alongside joints in major cities such as New York and L.A., is Detroit’s own Motz’s Burgers, hailed specifically for its Double Cheeseburger Slider. Via Thrillist: There’s nothing remarkable about the façade of this SW diner… it’s just a diner, like the hundreds of others in the D. The staff’s been there for years… and so have the regulars, who can’t get enough of Motz’s legendary smashed burgers. The formula’s nothing revolutionary: smashed, griddled patties with oozy cheese and onions that melt into the burger itself as it cooks. But it’s that unmistakable flavor of a well-seasoned griddle — which has also been here for years — that makes the difference. You can score big burgers with accoutrements, but this isn’t really a place to say things like “accoutrements”. Grab the old-school slider (the double cheeseburger one), and prepare for three perfect bites of Detroit’s finest. Flint’s Torch Bar and Grill also made the cut, most notably for its Deluxe Torch Burger with Bacon. Tucked away in an alley beyond the brick streets that used to mark […]

    The post Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know!

    The Metro Times is looking for college students or graduates of Michigan colleges that used atypical means to pay for their schooling (i.e. sugar baby, selling underwear, military enrollment purely for school help, etc.). We are looking for personal anecdotes about the lengths you went to help pay for school, what came of it, your monetary situation, if the resource worked to get you through college and more. If you have utilized any one of these avenues, or know someone who has, please drop us a line at college@metrotimes.com.

    The post In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit

    File under “WTF” — attorneys representing former Psychopathic Records publicist Andrea Pellegrini announced Monday that they have subpoenaed Kid Rock to produce a glass dildo as part of Pellegrini’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the Insane Clown Posse’s record label. Pellegrini claims the glass dildo was given to her by Psychopathic Records employee “Dirty Dan” Diamond as part of a larger culture of constant harassment in which she was called “bitch,” made the target of explicit sexual advances by Diamond and other co-workers, asked to procure automatic weapons for a photo shoot, and even encouraged to “deceive government investigators from the US Department of Labor.” On Friday, Diamond admitted under oath that he told Pellegrini that he had “a fat cock” and that he would “fuck the shit out of her.” The dildo, though, was “a work of art,” according to Diamond, and should not be considered sexual harassment. Why is Kid Rock involved? Diamond says when Pellegrini declined his dildo, he gave it to Kid Rock instead (presumably as a “work of art” and not a sexual advance). So now, according to court orders, Rock has 14 days to produce the glass dildo so the court can better determine if it is art or, well, a dildo. We will […]

    The post Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

Calendar

Calendar

Search thousands of events in our database.

Restaurants

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Nightlife

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email

Stir It Up

How corrupt is Detroit?

City has image as one of the most crooked. Numbers tell different story.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


Last week the federal government announced that it would stop sending a $50 million annual grant to the Detroit Human Services Department due to nepotism, reckless spending and corruption. In another case, the U.S. Justice Department records allege that contractor and Kwame Kilpatrick pal Bobby Ferguson obtained $58.5 million through extortion and other illegal means as part of the alleged "Kilpatrick Enterprise." Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has recently formed a special multi-agency task force in its Detroit office, declaring a war on public corruption.

"The city of Detroit has been hit hard by public corruption crimes. The individuals who commit these crimes are driven by greed and have no regret for their selfish actions," said IRS-CID Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez during a March 1 press conference announcing formation of the task force.

That sounds appropriate. When you look at the investigation into dealings at Wayne County under Executive Robert Ficano, the Mayor Kilpatrick et al. indictments, former City Council member Monica Conyers cooling it in the cooler for taking bribes, it would seem this is about as corrupt an area as you can get. Google "Detroit" and "corruption" and you'll find such choice phrases as "notoriously shady U.S. city," "reign of corruption" and (from Wikipedia) a "reputation as one of the most corrupt cities in America."

But is it?

"I don't think this area is extraordinary in comparison to other parts of the country," says Peter Henning, professor of law at Wayne State University and co-author of the tome The Prosecution and Defense of Public Corruption. "There is public corruption in all parts of the country. I don't think we're special in that regard, or that it is more rampant here."

Henning's observation is borne out by a recent study on government corruption from researchers at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The study, titled "Chicago and Illinois, Leading the Pack in Corruption," listed the 15 most corrupt federal judicial districts during the period from 1976 to 2010, and, surprise, Detroit is nowhere to be found on the list. As the paper's title — and the taint of the phrase "Chicago-style politics" — imply, Chicago takes the cake when it comes to federal convictions of public officials. 

The Illinois-Northern (Chicago) district leads the pack with 1,531 convictions over the 35-year period. Just in case you think our recent history would move us up the list, consider that Chicago had 46 convictions in 2010 alone and 364 for the period from 2001 to 2010. The Michigan-Eastern (Detroit) District totaled 131 convictions over the same period of time. Illinois had four governors convicted since 1973 — remember Rod Blagojevich who tried to sell Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat? Now there is plenty of corruption around here that doesn't show up on the list. For instance, Kilpatrick's conviction and jail time were at the state level and were the result of perjury; his trial on the federal charges hasn't yet begun. We probably won't see the final decision on that until sometime in 2014, Henning estimates. Former City Councilmember Kay Everett (who was allegedly bribed with 17 pounds of sausage among other things) passed away from kidney disease shortly after the feds indicted her on 28 counts punishable by up to 347 years in prison. If nothing else Everett's was a timely exit.

And John Clark, former aide to Councilman Ken Cockrel charged with accepting $3,000 in bribes, doesn't show up because his conviction was in 2011. But in a way Clark is more like the face of public corruption in the United States than Kilpatrick. That's because the vast majority of corruption convictions are against low-level public servants. Take Chicago, for example. They've had their corrupt governors, but you don't rack up 364 convictions in a decade just by taking governors down. Chicago has 50 aldermen (city council members) and there have been nearly 150 of them since 1976.

"More than 30 of them have been convicted of federal corruption charges," says Dick Simpson, lead writer on the University of Illinois-Chicago study. "This varies by year; some years are big on convictions; that's why you look at them over time. Most cities that are corrupt have a history of machine politics; that generally breeds the most corruption — trading votes for favors, jobs for precinct work and campaign contributions for later considerations. Politics based on patronage, where that tradition exists, there is almost always corruption. You're not yet on a scale like Chicago, where there is three or four times as much corruption according to federal convictions."

Partly, it's a matter of scale. In the 2010 census Detroit's 717,777 population is less than one-third that of Chicago's 2,695,598. And Detroit is a distant 18th place behind New York City's 8.1 million population. But a number of cities smaller than Detroit made the top 15, including the judicial districts that contain Newark, Cleveland, the District of Columbia and New Orleans.

Of course, we do have our history of corruption. The recently released documentary film DEFORCE focuses on corruption as a key problem in the city's downfall. Among the exhibits: Chief of Police William Hart, convicted in 1992 of embezzling $2.6 million in undercover funds, and Charles Beckham, former city water and sewerage director, who was convicted in 1984 of taking a bribe for a sludge-handling contract. Beckham is widely considered to have taken the fall for Mayor Coleman Young (investigated five times by the feds, yet was never indicted). Former mayors Richard Reading, 1938-39, was convicted for taking bribes, and Louis Miriani, 1957-61, for failing to report $261,000 in income.

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus