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

janee ayers scott benson.jpg
Posted at 12:51 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 12:51:30-04

(WSYM) — FBI agents raided the homes of two Detroit City Council members and the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center on Wednesday.

According to the FBI, the raids happened at the homes of Councilwoman Janee Ayers and Councilman Scott Benson. It's reportedly part of the federal corruption investigation that led to charges against Councilman Andre Spivey last month.

“The citizens of Detroit have a right to a city government that’s free of corruption,” FBI Detroit Special Agent Timothy Waters said in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

On July 28, Spivey was charged with conspiracy to commit bribery.

According to the criminal information filing, Spivey and another person identified as "Public Official A, "corruptly accepted over $35,000 in bribe payments in connection with Spivey's position as a member of the Detroit City Council."

It also alleges that Spivey took a $1,000 cash bribe from an undercover law enforcement agent on Oct. 26, 2018.

Both Ayers and Benson are running for another term on council. Ayers advanced to the general election in her bid for an at-large seat, and Benson ran unopposed in the primary.

The searches come three weeks after Spivey was arraigned in federal court on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery over claims he accepted more than $35,000 to be "influenced and rewarded" for votes.

Earlier this year, former Detroit councilman Gabe Leland was sentenced to 2 1/2 years of probation for misconduct in office charge.

Leland represented Detroit's 7th district. Prosecutors said Leland accepted $7,500 in cash during his 2017 re-election campaign and free car repairs in exchange for his vote on a land deal.

During the plea hearing, Leland said he accepted the campaign contribution and knew it was illegal to do so.

In 2018, Leland was also indicted on federal bribery charges, but that case will be dismissed under his plea deal.