Mayor Duggan's office deleted emails and gave special treatment to program, OIG report finds

The Detroit inspector general released a report Monday saying that mayor Mike Duggan gave preferential treatment to a program and that certain emails were deleted by City employees. 

The report says the mayor picked the Make Your Date prenatal health program as the city's choice to fight infant mortality instead of going through the regular selection process it was supposed to go through.  

The inspector general started the investigation after a Free Press report about Duggan's relationship with the program's director, Dr. Sonia Hassan. She lead the program as Duggan asked the staff to raise money for Make Your Date.

In another potential bombshell, the report found that the mayor's chief of staff, Alexis Wiley, ordered certain Office of Development and Grants employees to delete hundreds of emails related to the Make Your Date program as news surfaced about the potential conflict of interest.   

The city also directed more than $300,000 in federal grants to the program.  

In the report, the OIG determined that, while Duggan did not violate city policies or laws, the treatment of the charity was "not best practice for good governance". 

In a statement Duggan released after reviewing the report, he responded to the claim of preferential treatment for the charity.

"We partnered with Wayne State University, America's foremost preterm birth research institution on a Make Your Date program that resulted in a 37% reduction in preterm births earlier than 32 weeks. Thousands of at risk pregnant women benefited from this effort and delivered healthy babies. The success of the program speaks for itself."

— Mayor Mike Duggan

Duggan also addressed the email deletion, saying that the only emails were on the part of two junior staff members in the Office of Development and Grants. He said the emails were routine conversations that didn't have a reason to cover up.

Duggan said the deletion was done to shield the employees from Bob Carmack, which the OIG report stated in a statement from Wiley.

"We agree with the OIG's assessment that the emails' deletion was not in the best interest of transparent government, which is why the administration made every effort possible to retrieve the emails and post them publicly on the city website," said Detroit CFO Dave Massaron who led the effort to retrieve the emails.

The mayor will be consulting with the city's HR Director on recommendations for potential discipline and will also address a new policy for the personal use of email.