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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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    FBI raids Detroit’s city hall, council members’ homes as it focuses on towing operations

    Detroit — A widening public corruption investigation focused on Detroit towing operations and bribery allegations emerged Wednesday as FBI agents raided Detroit City Hall and the homes of City Council members Janeé Ayers and Scott Benson, the latest development in a scandal that has led to charges against Councilman André Spivey.

    The full scope of the investigation was unclear, but FBI agents were focused on municipal towing operations and accusations city officials received bribes, according to two sources. Federal agents also searched the homes of several City Council employees, including Ricardo Silva and Carol Banks, chiefs of staff for Ayers and Benson, respectively, though search warrant documents listing probable cause to search the locations remained sealed in court and no criminal charges were filed Wednesday.

    The raids represent the broadest federal investigation into City Hall corruption in the eight years since former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and sentenced to 28 years in federal prison. President Donald Trump commuted the sentence in January.

    “The citizens of Detroit have a right to a city government that’s free of corruption,” Timothy Waters, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit office, told reporters outside the municipal center after more than a dozen special agents were spotted leaving the building with boxes of evidence.

    It was unclear which City Hall offices were raided but a source familiar with the investigation said investigators did not search Mayor Mike Duggan’s office or executive suite.

    In recent years, FBI corruption investigators have focused on Macomb County politics, and secured more than a dozen convictions before returning their focus to Detroit politics.

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