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Schuette charges 7 Detroit building inspectors with bribery

7 Detroit building inspectors face charges of accepting bribes, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Thursday.

Schuette said the inspectors, who altogether face 17 felony and misdemeanor counts, violated the public trust.

Schuette said that by taking bribes to overlook code violations—in some cases, going to the lengths of falsifying architectural plans—they put people in danger. And he hailed the charges as a sign that a “culture of corruption” won’t be tolerated.

“The nod and a wink justice days…those days are gone,” said Schuette, calling the scheme “payola.” “There’s one set of rules, and they apply to everybody.”

The charges stem from an investigation by the Southeast Michigan Public Corruption Task Force.

That group, led by the FBI, was assembled last year after a long string of public corruption cases in Metro Detroit.

Mayor Dave Bing said in a statement that the charges are “another step toward eradicating unethical and illegal behavior”—but don’t reflect the building department or city workers as a whole.

Schuette said state officials will work with the city of Detroit to make sure that all the buildings involved are up to code.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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