Most Read
  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email

Politics & Prejudices

Stinking to high heaven

Ficano’s follies include sweetheart payoff to appointee

OK, breakfast clubbers: Where's the outrage?

If you live in Wayne County and you are not ready to march to Robert Ficano's office with blazing torches and pitchforks, you must have been chugging Thorazine for weeks.

Last week, we learned that a rather striking woman named Turkia Awada Mullin got $200,000 in severance from the cash-strapped county when she left her job as director of development.

Did they lay her off?

Hell, no. Ficano got her an even better job recently — as CEO of Detroit Metropolitan Airport. There, she is making $250,000 a year, doing a job that partly involves laying off one-sixth of the airport employees. Ficano, meanwhile, has imposed a 20 percent pay cut on unionized county workers, something the union (AFSCME) is fighting in the courts. The county, by the way, has a $160 million deficit.

Nevertheless, Ficano thought he ought to give Mullin a year's salary on her way out the door to get a better job. Fortunately, the newspapers found out about it. Mullin, who was once a poor girl growing up in Warren, has clearly left the proletariat behind.

"I'm paid what I'm worth. I've earned everything I got," she arrogantly told reporters, claiming she could have gotten much more elsewhere. Our asking about her double-dipping was a "ridiculous level of scrutiny." Well, self-awareness is rare these days. To be fair, it is true that she doesn't list a conscience on her résumé.

But what in the hell was Ficano thinking when he gave her a year's salary for accepting a better-paying job? Apparently, that's the way the boys do business in Wayne County. Mullin's predecessor on the development job, one Mulu Birru, denied getting such a settlement when he left. That is, till somebody produced the pay stub.

Birru was either a liar, or so corrupt or stupid that he had forgotten that he'd gotten an extra $200,000 of the taxpayers' cash. Just the kind of guy you want as a public servant. 

However, there's probably little joy in Turkiaville these days. Late last week, she talked to her capo, Bobby F, who was off in China. That provoked a sudden attitude adjustment. She overcame her earlier arrogance and said that returning the money was the right thing to do, after she whined a bit that going to the airport actually meant a pay cut for her darling self. Seems that when she was struggling along as the development director, she was getting an extra $75,000 a year from what WXYZ-TV called a "shadowy nonprofit" development corporation, which is funded, in part, from anonymous donations.

Those donations include contractors who do business with the county, the TV station reported. Incidentally, the 43-year-old Mullin — who now makes more money than Ficano — was chosen to run Metro despite having no experience whatsoever at airport management. Chosen over four candidates with airport experience. But, then, Ficano appoints four of the seven airport board members.

Yes, they do things differently in Wayne.

Incidentally, guess what would happen if Turkia got into a snit, got Bobby to find her another job, or quit the airport to work at Neiman-Marcus tomorrow? Why, Wayne County would have to pay her another $125,000 in severance. This lady looks after herself.

The county commissioners professed ignorance and said they knew nothing about her severance, which raises suspicions about their level of competence, Ficano's living up to his obligations to keep them properly informed, or both. L. Brooks Patterson, the good ol'-boy executive of much richer Oakland County, said he thought the severance deal was nuts. The development director in his county is paid far less than Mullin was, as was the one in Macomb.

Deborah Gordon, an employment law attorney who has a long track record of ably defending women who get the short end of the stick, told the Detroit News that she had never heard of anything like the Turkia Awada Mullin severance payoff.

"That is such a sweetheart deal it's illogical," she said. "There's something very strange going on there."

No kidding. But things are different in Wayne, where at least 80 Ficano appointees make at least $100,000 a year. This pattern of Tammany Hall-style conduct goes back at least as far as the days of Boss Ed McNamara. Years ago, I wrote about how the Wayne County taxpayers voted to build a new youth prison. Ed took the money and used it for something else, and happily got away with it.

He's dead now, but the big casino keeps on rolling. To their credit, both Detroit newspapers have been all over the $200,000 good-bye kiss story. But they haven't been nearly as hard on Mullin as they were on poor Karen Dumas, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's former communications director. They hounded her out of office in June for being allegedly arrogant and abrasive. When Dumas quit, she told me she didn't get any severance at all, except her accrued vacation pay.

Nobody even hinted she was out to feather her own nest. The newspapers have never subjected Mullin to a fraction of the scrutiny Bing's much lower-paid press secretary got.

As far as I know, only Channel 7's Heather Catallo reported that, as development director, Mullin was the key figure in the Pinnacle Race Track debacle, which cost taxpayers $30 million, never produced the promised thousands of jobs, and which, according to the county auditor, was marked by slipshod bookkeeping.

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