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Race for Detroit City Council continues Tuesday amid corruption cloud

Posted at 10:14 AM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-02 10:14:02-04

(WXYZ) — The race for Detroit City Council is on Tuesday and some races have garnered even more attention due to corruption scandals.

Related: Michigan's November 2021 election: Here's everything you need to know

Corruption probes have touched nearly half of city council's members, with two of them already pleading guilty to charges earlier this year and resigning.

The FBI has also raided the homes and offices of two other members who have not yet been charged with a crime.

Related: Here are the races to watch in metro Detroit for the 2021 election

The outcome of Tuesdays' races will give us a clearer picture of just how much these probes matter to Detroiters, who are no stranger to corruption in city government.

"That's what America was built on, corruption. So I don't see why they're really making a big deal out of it," Antonius Stewart, a Detroit voter, told us.

"Now it's almost limited to restaurant conversation, oh did you hear what happened?" Karen Dumas, a political consultant, said.

Related: FBI raids Detroit city hall, homes of council members in corruption investigation

The latest diner chat would have included the growing federal probe into shady towing practices, which last week led to agents searching the homes of two Detroit police officers, and in September, landed its first conviction on a bribery charge. Councilman Andre Spivey resigned.

It's part of a larger corruption investigation.

This summer, agents searched the homes and offices of District Three Councilman Scott Benson and at-large Councilwoman Janee Ayers. Neither has been charged with a crime and both are seeking re-election on Tuesday.

In May, former Councilman Gabe Leland pleaded guilty to a state charge, admitting to taking cash in exchange for his vote on a land deal. Like Spivey, he stepped down.

"The corruption is a pretty sad thing," Detroit voter Marsha Bolden said.

She is voting in the race, but was candid on Monday that she's not sure for who.

"They're just tired of being disappointed. I'm one of them," she said of other Detroiters.

Dumas served under Mayor Dave Bing and now works in consulting. She hasn't seen these investigations stop campaign efforts, and maintains candidates not charged with actual wrongdoing shouldn't be stopped from campaigning.

"At some point, we should put forth the effort to try to eliminate that cloud and the people who continue to stir that kind of dust-up for the City of Detroit. This isn't what we deserve," Dumas said.

Detroit City Council races and the Detroit mayoral race are big items to watch in Wayne County.