Gabe Leland pleads guilty to misconduct in office, resigns from Detroit City Council

Posted at 10:36 AM, May 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 10:11:46-04

(WXYZ) — Former Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland pleaded guilty to misconduct in office on Monday and resigned from City Council, his attorney confirms to 7 Action News.

Leland, 38, will be sentenced on June 7.

As part of the sentencing agreement, Leland will avoid jail time, resign from the city council and have his federal court case dismissed with prejudice.

Leland represented Detroit's 7th district. Prosecutors said Leland accepted $7,500 in cash during his 2017 re-election campaign and free car repairs in exchange for his vote on a land deal.

During the plea hearing, Leland said he accepted the campaign contribution and knew it was illegal to do so.

In 2018, Leland was also indicted on federal bribery charges, but that case will be dismissed under his plea deal.

Leland is the son of Burton Leland, a former state representative and Wayne County commissioner, who died in 2018.

In a statement released after his hearing, Leland apologized to his constituents who he said he let down.

"My father taught me that the greatest thing about political power is that it gives you the ability to do good things for others. In my career as a state legislator and city councilman, I tried to live up to that expectation. I am proud of the many accomplishments I was able to achieve on behalf of my constituents," he wrote.

"Unfortunately, I crossed a line. As my plea demonstrates, I violated my oath of office. I am truly sorry for this personal transgression. It is costing me the ability to hold public office and with it, the ability to do good things for others. I apologize to the Court, to my family, and especially to my constituents who placed their electoral faith in me."

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones released a statement following Leland's resignation saying, "Today, Gabe Leland resigned from the Detroit City Council. This is a sad day for Detroit government. But, it is important that all elected officials uphold their oath of office. Elected officials are held to a high standard to ensure that integrity and the public trust of our constituents remain strong.

On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, a resolution declaring the District 7 vacancy will be on the Detroit City Council Formal Session Agenda. In addition, a Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, May 10 at 2PM, has been scheduled to address City Council rules and charter-mandated actions going forward.

During this vacancy, the residents of District 7 will continue to have their interests represented by both at-large members, Councilwoman Janee Ayers and myself."