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Federal agents "visit" Detroit land bank as demolitions probe heats up

Nov 17, 2016

A federal investigation into Detroit’s demolition program under Mayor Mike Duggan seems to be picking up speed, and possibly widening in scope.

Federal agents visited the Detroit land bank Wednesday.

The land bank has used almost $130 million in federal money, originally allocated for foreclosure prevention, on demolitions as part of Duggan’s aggressive blight elimination campaign.

But the program is now the subject of multiple federal and state investigations, after costs spiked and questionable bidding practices were revealed.

Last month, Duggan admitted more federal money for demolitions had briefly been suspended, after investigations uncovered a number of problems.

The money was released only after making a number of changes and adding new oversight, including state agents embedded in the land bank and city.

The Detroit U.S. Attorney’s office said that federal agents were at the land bank to “obtain materials that were produced voluntarily as part of the City's ongoing cooperation in the investigation."

We should know more about the status of the investigation after a court hearing regarding additional federal subpoenas that’s set for early next month.

Duggan’s office declined to comment. Duggan is currently with Governor Snyder on a trade mission in China.