Detroit FBI launches email for public to report corruption

DETROIT (AP) — Residents who suspect official corruption can now report that information directly to the Detroit FBI office via a new email address, in an expansion of the federal agency's public outreach.

The launch of follows years of investigations into corruption in Detroit and the surrounding suburbs, including bribery, kickbacks, the rigging of bids for municipal contracts, and intentional non-enforcement of local regulations.

Public corruption can be difficult to detect making information from the public critical to the FBI's efforts, the agency said Wednesday in a news release.

Two Detroit police officers recently were charged in federal court with taking bribes to break the rules and steer cars to a favored towing company. The charges were the latest in a federal investigation of Detroit's towing procedures.

Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey pleaded guilty in September to accepting $36,000 in bribes related to oversight of towing policy. Spivey has resigned.

FBI agents in August searched offices at Detroit City Hall and the homes of two other City Council members. Agents were seen leaving City Hall with boxes.

"Most public officials are committed to serving their communities with integrity," FBI Detroit Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters said in a release. "Unfortunately, we continue to see elected and appointed officials across the state of Michigan who use their positions for personal gain."

One of Detroit's most notorious public corruption cases involved former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick served more than seven years of a 28-year sentence following his 2013 federal conviction for racketeering conspiracy, fraud, extortion and tax crimes. At the time, the government called it the "Kilpatrick enterprise," a scheme to shake down contractors and reward allies.

Kilpatrick was released from prison in January  after President Donald Trump commuted his sentence.