DETROIT (FOX 2) - Did Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan abuse his authority and play favorites with a nonprofit headed up by the woman with whom he's said have close ties?
We could soon find out.
The Office of Inspector General opened an investigation last Friday following a Detroit Free Press investigation which stated: Duggan told his chief development officer to launch a fundraising campaign for Dr. Sonia Hassan's Make Your Date organization; and that the nonprofit received more than $350,000 in city grants.
Make Your Date helps pregnant women deliver healthy babies and operates under the umbrella of Wayne State University. The OIG says it began the probe in accordance with the city charter.
"Clearly (there) was misconduct being done," said Joanna Underwood, a member of the city's charter commission. "At no point does the mayor have the power to direct any department head that he appoints, to fundraise for any nonprofit in the city of Detroit or anywhere. That totally goes against the Detroit City Charter."
Both Wayne State and the Duggan administration said they welcome the investigation.
The mayor's Chief of Staff Alexis Wiley says: "An unbiased, thorough review of the facts will demonstrate that the central claims and unsubstantiated suggestions made by the Detroit Free Press are completely false. The city's efforts entirely supported Wayne State University and its Make Your Date program."
Wayne State says: "Even The Free Press admitted there was absolutely no wrongdoing in the program, though they failed to include in their reporting salient information that would have further demonstrated this, among which is that Dr. Hassan earned exactly zero dollars for her volunteer efforts on this important cause."
The university also says she's been maligned based on implications and innuendos.
That started back in November when Detroit businessman Bob Carmack rolled out an electronic billboard on wheels and played surveillance video from a private investigator outside City Hall suggesting that Mayor Duggan and Dr. Hassan were having an affair.
Carmack has a long running beef with the city and Mayor Duggan over a land dispute. FOX 2 spoke with his lawyer Lillian Diallo.
"Mr. Carmack, although unorthodox, was onto something that has to do with the integrity of your elected officials and the integrity of the whole process of bidding and getting contracts and trusting that whole process," she said. "I don't know what it's going to come out as, but the investigation makes me go, 'Wow.'"
There is no timeline for the investigation but the OIG plans to get to it as soon as possible - and the results will be made public.