Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Detroit Councilman Spivey resigns after pleading guilty to bribery

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2021 at 11:07 AM

click to enlarge Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey. - CITY OF DETROIT
  • City of Detroit
  • Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey.

Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey resigned Wednesday morning, one day after he pleaded guilty to bribery in federal court.

In a letter to City Council President Brenda Jones, Spivey didn’t mention the bribery case but said “it has been a pleasure to serve” the city as a third-term councilman.

“Beginning in 2019, I was able to serve in a citywide capacity and in 2013 and 2017 elected to serve District 4,” Spivey said in the letter. “The most rewarding and challenging was working to move our city past bankruptcy into financial solvency.”

Spivey pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiring with an unidentified staff member to commit bribery. Spivey and the staff member collected more than $35,000 in cash bribes from an undercover agent or confidential informant on eight different occasions between 2018 and 2020, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.

Spivey was the first person to be charged as part of the federal government’s ongoing “Operation Northern Hook,” an investigation into corruption within Detroit government and the police department related to towing contracts.

“The people of Detroit deserve a city government free of corruption and pay-to-play politics,” U.S. Attorney Saima S. Mohsin said in a statement Tuesday. “The conviction of Councilman Spivey for accepting $35,000 in bribes demonstrates that the federal government remains vigilant and determined in rooting out corruption within the City of Detroit.”

Spivey faces up to five years in prison when sentenced on Jan. 19.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see corruption by Detroit public officials that erodes the public's trust in government and undermines the City's effort to move Detroit forward,” Timothy Waters, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, said. “Today’s guilty plea is a result of the FBI’s commitment to bringing corrupt officials to justice and should serve as warning to others who think they are beyond the reach of the law."

Spivey is the second Detroit councilman to resign this year after pleading guilty to bribery. A grand jury indicted Councilman Gabe Leland on bribery charges in October 2018, and he resigned in May. A month later, he was sentenced to probation.

On Aug. 25, the FBI raided the homes and offices of council members Janeé Ayers and Scott Benson, who are under investigation for their alleged roles in the towing scandal.

Spivey, a pastor, Cass Tech High School grad, and law student at Wayne State University, was not running for reelection.

Vying for his seat in the general election in November are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist M.L. Elrick and community activist Latisha Johnson.

"Councilman Spivey's guilty plea to bribery is a tragedy for the Eastside and for his family," Elrick tells Metro Times. "Detroit deserves leaders who put public service before self service. That's why I'm running for city council here in District 4 – to bring honest change to Detroit politics. I am the only candidate in the entire city who has a plan to help eliminate the culture of corruption that pollutes city hall."

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