Detroit's latest demo drama - a lawsuit

It's the latest drama in Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's signature demolition program.

Allegations of parties not being paid, a widening federal investigation  and now a lawsuit from a former state contractor.

Remember Barry Ellentuck, the state demolition contractor who was found not guilty of attempting to defraud the Detroit Land Bank of $6,000?

LeDuff: "Do you feel vindicated?"

Ellentuck: "No, I feel angry. I feel exonerated, but I don't feel vindicated."

As the feds continue their investigation into Mayor Duggan's marquee program, Ellentuck has filed his own suit in Oakland Circuit Court alleging that city officials conspired to frame and defame him, after he reported improper activities.

"They are Jim's emails to Barry Ellentuck, the  state representative, for the bidding process," Duggan said in a previous interview.

LeDuff: "So this is on the state."

Duggan: "It was a full partnership between the city and the state."

While Mayor Duggan is not named in the suit, his chief of staff Alexis Wiley is, accused of falsely claiming that Ellentuck was responsible for bids and contracts. She did not respond to a request for comment.

Also named is Carrie Lewand-Monroe, executive director of the Detroit Land Bank whom Ellentuck accuses of perjury during his trial.

"Carrie Lewand-Monroe originally testified that she had knowledge of the bills that were in question," said Joe Lavigne, Ellentuck's defense attorney. "Then at trial she said she didn't have personal knowledge of the bills in question, but it was based on what she was told.

"Then the person who reportedly told her, testified that Carrie was the one who was supposed to review them in the first place. And that she knew that she had, because she saw (Lewand-Monroe's)  handwriting on a copy of the invoice.

Carrie Lewand-Monroe declined comment, as she did a few weeks ago.

LeDuff: "Have you been subpoenaed? Did you perjure yourself?

Lewand-Monroe: "Thanks Charlie, submit your questions in writing."

LeDuff: "I just did."

Also named in the suit is former Deputy Building Director Jim Wright, who was actually among the group who awarded the bids and contracts.

LeDuff: "Who awards the contracts, it looks like you do."

Wright: "The contracts were awarded, a team, we have put them in."

Wright, who was recently fired by telephone, is cooperating with federal investigators and has been filling his days with home improvement projects.

Wright: "Get off my property."

LeDuff: "I'm going. Did they fire you or did you quit?"

Wright: "Get off my property."

LeDuff: "Did they fire you or did you quit?"

Wright: "I'm not talking."

LeDuff: "Are you talking to the feds at all? Jim, I'm going to keep coming back."

Melvin Hollowell, the city's top lawyer said in a statement: "We are confident that the allegations in the complaint are completely without merit and look forward to vigorously defending this case in court."

It is unclear who will pay their legal bills.

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