Ch. 10: how fundraisers influence Detroit politicians

Pssst! You’re getting a sneak peek at “Ch. 10,” a new feature in which Fox 2 Problem Solvers M.L. Elrick and Chris Sherban take you places you’ve never been.

Together, we’ll go behind the scenes, go out on a limb, and ride the cutting edge of digital journalism. There’s no telling what kinds of stories we’ll explore together.

So what’s with the title, “Ch. 10”? More artsy-fartsy esoterica? Not exactly. Detroit has gone through a lot of stages, or chapters, over the last 300 years. The latest was Ch. 9 – bankruptcy – when outsiders told us what do to. Well, the next chapter is Ch. 10. And, this time, we’re not taking nothing from nobody.

This first installment – the pilot, if you will – was shot at The Clique Restaurant on East Jefferson in Detroit, a short hop from City Hall. It’s a favorite breakfast spot for Detroit’s political players.

Elrick and Sherban caught up with long-time political operative Sam Riddle to discuss the influence fundraisers have on Detroit’s politicians. Riddle, a swashbuckling operator, is not far removed from a stretch in federal prison for his role in one of City Hall’s many pay-to-play schemes.

Riddle spoke to Elrick and Sherban as they worked to expose how a businessman who paid Riddle $25,000 to buy then-City Councilwoman Monica Conyers’ vote for a downtown strip club project is now raising money for current Detroit city councilmembers, including Mary Sheffield. 

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