City Councilman Leland caught on secret FBI wiretap discussing $15,000 bribe at strip club

click to enlarge Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland. - CITY OF DETROIT
City of Detroit
Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland.

Detroit City Councilman Gabe Leland has long maintained his innocence amid bribery allegations, but a secret FBI recording shows otherwise.

Leland met Detroit businessman Bob Carmack at a west-side strip club in May 2017, where they hammered out details of a $15,000 payment, according to a recording obtained by The Detroit Free Press.

Carmack was wearing an FBI wiretap when the pair met over screwdrivers, vodka soda, and lemon drop shots.

According to the FBI, Leland agreed to accept two $7,500 payments in exchange for his role in preventing the city’s sale of property Carmack said he owned.

“I’ll give it to you in a fucking cashier check or a money order. That way you can do whatever the fuck you want with it,” Carmack tells Leland in the recording.

With a camera hidden in a van and Carmack wired, the businessman paid $7,500 in cash provided by the FBI to one of Leland’s staffers. Leland never received the other $7,500.

Instead, Leland was indicted in October 2018 on two counts of bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. On July 17, the case was kicked to state court, where the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office charged him with misconduct in office, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. According to the charging document, Leland "accepted payments of money to influence his vote on certain city matters” between Jan. 1 2017 and Jan. 31, 2018.

Leland, who still serves on the city council, is expected to plead guilty, at which point he will be forced to resign from public office.

Carmack told the Free Press he decided to go to the FBI after Leland was pestering him for money while his father was dying.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles
Join the Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.