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Duggan denies knowingly revealing name of FBI informant in corruption case

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he didn’t knowingly divulge the identity of a corrupt Detroit towing contractor who was also an FBI confidential informant.

Duggan spoke from Mackinac Island on Tuesday in response to a Detroit News story. The story said prosecutors wrote in court filings that former Detroit City Council Member Andre Spivey disclosed information about the informant to a "public official," and cited multiple sources who said that official was Duggan.

Spivey was a target of the ongoing investigation called “Operation Northern Hook” into Detroit political corruption, centered around the city’s towing industry. He pleaded guilty to bribery and was sentenced to two years in prison.

Duggan said Spivey called him when he believed his indictment was imminent, to tell him that he had accepted bribes from the towing contractor and that he would not seek re-election. But Duggan said he never knew that tower was also an informant. He said he only told others because the city was acting in parallel to purge corrupt towers.

“He [Spivey] never said a word about a confidential source, nothing like that,” Duggan said. “I walked out of that conversation believing that I had just been told that I have a city councilman who is taking a bribe from a dishonest tower.”

Duggan said he told Detroit law official Chuck Raimi and police officials to aid the city’s own efforts to reorganize a towing system that was riddled with corruption. But, “If anybody had suggested there was a confidential source involved, I wouldn’t have said anything,” Duggan said, adding that “No one to this day from any federal agency has ever reached out to me and suggested that I did anything that was wrong.”

The News story cites sentencing memorandums from prosecutors in the Spivey case, who accused Spivey of “lying and obstructing the investigation by, among other things, leaking the informant's identity to the mayor.” This jeopardized other targets of the Northern Hook investigation, prosecutors contended. "The public official [Duggan] subsequently informed other individuals in city government of the identity of the FBI confidential source, who then passed the information on to a target of the government’s investigation," prosecutors wrote.

According to the News, Operation Northern Hook has led to criminal charges against six people so far and is the latest crackdown on public corruption in Metro Detroit. In recent years, federal prosecutors in southeastern Michigan have charged more than 110 people with corruption crimes.

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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