Stir It Up
How corrupt is Detroit?
City has image as one of the most crooked. Numbers tell different story.
Published: March 14, 2012
It would seem that Detroit is, at least, uniquely bad in Michigan. Not so, says Henning, a former federal prosecutor. "There is corruption in Oakland County and Macomb County; it's just a matter of not being looked at."
There is at least some peeking going on outside the city. Last November, the state charged the Pontiac fire chief with bribery, and earlier in the year a Westland court clerk was indicted for embezzlement. And the Wayne County executive's office has dominated the "alleged corruption" beat for the region's journalists for months now.
"For corruption you look for patterns," Henning says. "It's not usually isolated. If you take a bribe, you usually don't take it from one person one time. It tends not to be just in one spot. It's a pattern; it develops over time; it becomes a way of doing business. ... The United States is one of the least corrupt political systems in the world. It's not what you see worldwide, but any instance of corruption is going to be problematic."
So we do have a corruption problem here. But don't despair; you could be in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., or Miami, the study's top five corrupt districts. Detroit has managed to stay off a number of dubious lists recently. Travel & Leisure left us off the top 10 rudest cities; Forbes left us off the most miserable cities list. Unfortunately we are still considered the most dangerous city America. I guess we can't bribe our way out of that.
> Email Larry Gabriel