Corruption and Detroit history impacting how citizens view government leaders

Posted at 8:50 AM, Jul 29, 2021

(WXYZ) — The culture of corruption some say has plagued Detroit city government, now fueling more responses in the wake of today's developments and allegations.

Detroiters who believe in the city coming back say they’re sick of seeing leaders prosecuted here in federal court. They’re hoping to see real change now.

“I just feel it’s unfortunate people seem to take advantage, of the situation on a selfish note. It’s difficult to explain to the kids. They say I want to be a Mayor when I grow up. It’s like ahhh," said Erika Woodard, a Detroiter.

For Woodard and her husband Deron, teaching their children the right values always comes first. But sadly they acknowledge some of Detroit's most trusted elected leaders over the years have taken the opposite approach.

“It makes us look very irresponsible as far as our leadership,” Woodard said.

Former Detroit city councilwoman Monica Conyers made headlines when she was sent to prison for taking bribes and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick also was found guilty and sentenced to nearly three decades behind bars for corruption, prior to an early release this year.

However, since then, councilman Gabe Leland has resigned and pled guilty to misconduct for taking bribes and just today, councilman Andre Spivey charged with allegedly accepting bribe money as well.

“Not to make excuses, but we really need to think through a second decision, or some circumstances that we could be placed in,” said former State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo.

Dagnogo, now a school board member in Detroit, pointing out some have traded favors for cash betraying public trust but telling us it's not reflective of most who serve. Former Federal Prosecutor Abed Hammoud investigated public corruption as an assistant Wayne County prosecutor as well.

“People minimize what they’re doing and say look everyone else is doing it. It’s like speeding they say I’m just 10 over. Everyone does a lot more than that,” Hammoud said.