Feds take records from Detroit demo program for investigation

Confirmation came Wednesday that federal investigators are in Detroit digging into the demolition program.

The feds were supposed to arrive at the Guardian Building looking for records, hard drives, and anything else that the land bank might have in connection with that troubled program possibly accused of fraud.

FOX 2 was there at 7 a.m. and saw people come in with lock boxes and tools but it at the time it was unclear if they were federal agents. Charlie LeDuff has received confirmation that they were federal agents.

Land Bank officials did not show up but sent a statement from Craig Fahle, director of public affairs for the city: "The Detroit Land Bank cannot comment ongoing investigations other than to say we're fully cooperating."

Officials from treasury have been in Detroit since Monday they met with a number of contractors. FOX 2 has also spoken with those contractors. What they seem to be following is what we have reported for over a year:

Allegations of bid rigging, secret meetings with preferred contractors, questions of the quality and origin of the dirt used and price sawing or taking money from one project and adding to another.  All is illegal.

Who is under suspicion by the federal authorities? FOX 2 is told it is Land Bank officials, Detroit building officials, the chief operating officer of the city and Mayor Mike Duggan's office.

WEB UPDATE (10 p.m.): A second statement was released from Fahle - "This was a scheduled visit to provide records, not a raid. We have said from the very beginning that we are cooperating with federal authorities and we will continue to do so."

On Thursday, U.S. Attorneys Office spokesperson Gina Balaya released this statement, saying that what happened in Detroit on Wednesday was not a raid:

"U.S. Attorney's office, quote, we are commenting to avoid a misperception of the facts. Federal agents visited the offices of the Detroit Land Bank today (Wednesday) to obtain materials that were produced voluntarily as part of the city's ongoing cooperation in the investigation."

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