Well, maybe Robert Ficano isn’t up the river yet. Turkia Awada Mullin isn’t quite there, either. But, they have definitely launched the boat to the deepest part of the creek and have left their paddles behind.
All the commotion started with an eyebrow-raising $200,000 severance Mullin received after leaving her job at the Wayne County Executive department to take a better paying position as Metro Airport CEO. This position pays $250,000 per year.
After the Detroit Free Press caught wind of this, she decided to give the money back. But, wouldn’t you know it, it’s really tough to get that kind of cash all at once. There was no problem at all getting it all at once from the county, however.
The investigation into how such a sweetheart deal could be negotiated turned up some more interesting facts. First, L. Brooks Patterson denied that any such payment is standard practice for a government unless an individual is actually terminated from employment. Mullin did not fit this bill, especially considering she willingly left one position to take a higher paying one with very little transitional period.
Then, it was discovered that Mullin got $75,000 from Edge Opportunities, a non-profit company that also happens to have contracts with Wayne County. The commissioners deny they knew of the payments and say they never approved them.
Meanwhile, further investigation showed that Mullin has no experience with running an airport of any size, much less an international hub. The claim here was that it shouldn’t matter because she’s surrounded by people who know the business. This tells the taxpayers they are paying these “people” to do their own work and the work of the CEO of the airport while they basically pay her for sitting at a desk and watching a Newton cradle.
After that, a mysterious undated letter surfaced that stated in very few words that Mullin had entered into the severance agreement with the county. The letter was determined originally to have been generated around 2008 or 2009 based on the fact that it was done on stationery from the Executive Department’s old office address.
Before too long, it was found out that this letter was actually generated closer to September 3 of this year, and the old stationery was used by accident or design. Just wondering at this point how many people out there think it was by design.
Ficano then turns and announces his deputy Azzam Elder as well as Marianne Talon, a top lawyer for the county, were suspended for 30 days without pay for their role in the scandal. He apologized in a flurry but still offers no explanation for the recent turns of events,.
Now, the FBI is serving up subpoenas as a first course, which will probably followed by a second course of search warrants with some arrests for dessert. Hey, a three-course meal dining on government corruption!
In the wake of this, further information regarding the dishonesty of Mullin and Ficano has surfaced as well. The skinny on this latest debacle is that Wayne County and Mullin are taking credit for investments of nearly $5.5 billion in projects which they had no direct role in financing. Several business owners have already stepped forward and said that they neither received money from the county or created as many jobs with the project as the county claims.
This latest debacle coupled with Wayne County’s and Detroit’s long-standing record of sweetheart deals, kickbacks, racketeering, falsely inflated invoices, political as well as educational graft, and bold-faced lying about it all points to the fact that their government is broken.
What is it about Wayne County and Detroit that allows one corrupt official after another to be seated in political office and proceed to scam the taxpayers?
Why is it that teachers walk in their schools to find a perpetually nonfunctional copy machine due to budget constraints while other supposedly responsible adults walk out with computers, flat screen televisions, and laptops?
Why is it that a politician can appoint a board of directors at an airport and then get his closest crony confirmed as their CEO regardless of lack of previous experience? How can a candidate without even the slightest hint of previous experience get the job over others who have proven experience?
The answer is simple. A perpetually undereducated population is being held as intellectual hostages by a government that holds on to power by sheer virtue of this lack of education. Whenever people wise up about their government, politicians in turn throw a quick fit, roll some heads, and people forget about it.
When people begin to remember their history lessons, well that’s when the school budget cuts manifest under the guise of a tight budget. They never mention this tight budget was caused by their own graft.
The process continues over many years, and further ensures that people will not wise up. Not only do they not wise up, they are taught by these politicians that what they are doing is really for the best. Too bad budget cuts combined with standardized testing ensure that these people will not be taught critical thinking skills necessary to figure out what politicians are really up to.
Since the people can no longer think for themselves and respond to only A, B, C, D, T, F and so on, things for them become very black and white. Very standardized indeed.
However, this standard results in voter disenfranchisement and assures that only certain individuals who have had access to education that their constituents could never get or afford remain the central power brokers.
A democratic republic can’t be a government of the people, by the people and for the people if most of the people are denied the tools they need to enter government by a small group of individuals who wish to retain the power.
When something like that happens, they give it a different name: Oligarchy.