Conyers is gone, but controversy remains

A council president who says one thing but does another, a senator with a potential conflict of interest, a candidate paying herself to run for office, a mayor sued by a whistleblower, a politician who can't follow the rules and the son of a legendary mayor seeking to replace the congressman who tried to replace his dad as mayor nearly 30 years ago.

One of these six candidates will punch their ticket to Washington, D.C. next Tuesday, and almost none of them have volunteered the information I and a team of reporters uncovered.

For two months, reporters for Fox 2 News, Detroit Public Radio (WDET, 101.9 FM), the Lansing-based Gongwer News Service and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network ( scrutinized the six Democrats vying to replace Congressman John Conyers in Michigan's 13th congressional district. Conyers retired last year after 54 years in Congress after allegations that he sexually harassed women who worked for him. Because there is no Republican on the ballot, whoever wins he Democratic primary is all-but guaranteed to represent Detroit and surrounding communities including Wayne, Westland, River Rouge, Harper Woods, Ecorse, Lincoln Park, Wyandotte and the Grosse Pointes.

With so much on the line, the reporters came together with a simple mission: Provide voters with as much information as possible - with an emphasis on providing voters the kind of information about the candidates that candidates typically leave out of their campaign commercials or literature.

The reporters ran the candidates through about two dozen filters, checking to see if they, and in some cases, their companies, popped up in local, state and federal public records. The reporters traveled to courthouses in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, and also examined property records.

The candidates were given a chance to respond to the reporters' findings. The reporters also included information on the candidates' key issues - as well as matters they oppose.

To see what we found, watch my latest exclusive Problem Solvers investigation. CLICK here for the Michigan Political Almanac, where you can learn more about every candidate running for office in Michigan this year.

Contact M.L. Elrick at or 248-552-5261. Follow him on Facebook at "ML Elrick," on Twitter @elrick or on Instagram at "ml_elrick."