Wayne Co. may end jail project, partner with state at Mound - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

$140 million plus interest and now the Wayne County jail project may end

Posted: Updated:
New Wayne County Jail New Wayne County Jail
DETROIT (WJBK) -

After spending more than a year defending his plan to build a new Wayne County Jail, Robert Ficano appears to be ready to bail on the project and sell off the land. Apparently a deal is in the works that could have the county partnering with the state, a plan we understand the governor is fully supporting.

That plan is to sell the site of the new jail, as well as the courthouse and the existing jails to a developer and move those operations to the Mound Correctional Facility.

How did we get here?

Bob Ficano wanted a new jail in time for next year's election. He even wanted to name it after himself. So his right-hand man Azzam Elder and his left-hand woman Turkia Mullin put the deal together.

Local firms Ghafari Associates and Walbridge Construction received the lion's share of the $300 million job. They are also contributors to Ficano and the nonprofit Edge Opportunities fund that paid Mullin on the side, a deal which is being look at by the FBI.

The blueprints weren't even finished on the job, but the county commissioners rubber stamped it anyway. Now it is wildly over budget, work has stopped and then a bombshell Wednesday at a County Commission hearing.

"We believe that firmly that the right thing to do is to work with the state to be partners and to move out to Mound," said June Lee, Ficano's chief of staff.

County officials are expected to ask the Building Authority to cancel the contracts on the new jail Thursday. After that, details are sketchy. Who will buy the downtown properties and develop them, and at what price? Who will pay for the new jail and court at the Mound facility? What about the colossal waste of money that was put into the jail project?

"We're going to stop this deal. It's $140 million spent. Let's not forget interest. Over 30 years, that's going to cost us $300 million for a do over. Do you want to take ownership?" I asked Ficano.

"At this point, there's still going to be a sale price on the land. That cuts into the costs," he responded. "You're going to put an entity on there that now will pay taxes. Before when the jail sat there, there was no taxes that was coming in. So now you'll have a tax base that will start to come in."

Play the video to hear Ficano talk to Charlie and also to hear Michigan State Representative explain some of the ramifications to Michigan taxpayers. Charlie also poses this question to Cavanaugh: Why the state is willing to bail out Bob Ficano but not the city of Detroit?

STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR RICK SNYDER:

Gov. Rick Snyder issued the following statement today in support of a proposal to relocate the Wayne County Jail complex:

"This proposal recognizes the resurgence of downtown Detroit and the significant economic benefits that would come from having the jail's prime downtown location available for private sector development. Freeing up that location for private development, such as offices, hotels, and restaurants, would expand the ongoing revitalization of downtown Detroit.

"Development along those lines would create construction jobs, then long-term jobs, and expand the city's tax base for years to come. This downtown location should be recognized as an area of potential economic development because of the significant benefits that it could bring to the city, county, and state.

"My team and I are ready to work with Wayne County officials and put this proposal to relocate the criminal justice facilities to Mound Road on a fast track. We can work cooperatively to develop an integrated criminal justice center that would reduce the county's future operating costs.

There's a growing recognition of the operational and cost benefits of creating such a criminal justice center that would include the jail and the present intake system plus criminal courts and the appropriate operations of the county sheriff and the county prosecutor.
"The sooner we start that process, the better. I'm confident that by working together we can find a way to make this proposal a reality."

  • Charlie LeDuffCharlie LeDuffMore>>

  • Court: Ex-judge Wade McCree immune from civil suit

    Court: Ex-judge Wade McCree immune from civil suit

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 2:04 PM EDT2014-07-22 18:04:29 GMT
    The infamous selfie taken by Judge Wade mcCree. The infamous selfie taken by Judge Wade mcCree.
    A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court's ruling that a disgraced Detroit judge cannot be sued by a defendant in a child support case he presided over.
    A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court's ruling that a disgraced Detroit judge cannot be sued by a defendant in a child support case he presided over.
  • LeDuff: Where is the respect for the real hosts of the Super Bowl?

    LeDuff: Where is the respect for the real hosts of the Super Bowl?

    Super Bowl XLVIII is in New York.  Well, not exactly.  The Super Bowl's host city is actually East Rutherford, N.J.  Sometimes it's hard to get respect in America if you're not from places like NYC or LA.
    Super Bowl XLVIII is in New York.  Well, not exactly.  The Super Bowl's host city is actually East Rutherford, N.J.  Sometimes it's hard to get respect in America if you're not from places like Los Angeles., Washington, D.C. or New York.  If you live in New Jersey, you're in the shadow of the Big Apple.
  • Ground Zero of the North Dakota Oil Boom

    Ground Zero of the North Dakota Oil Boom

    Friday, March 7 2014 12:11 PM EST2014-03-07 17:11:13 GMT
    In another installment of The Americans with Charlie LeDuff, Charlie and his crew head to Williston, North Dakota, where the oil boom is making the small town the epicenter of opportunity and big city problems.
    Tens of thousands of Americans are drifting into places like Williston, North Dakota where the oil boom is making the small town the epicenter of opportunity.

    If you're willing to work 100 hours a week you could make $100,000 in a year.  Along with opportunity there are problems and a changing landscape to small town life that's as harsh as winter on the northern planes.
  • Charlie LeDuff: Off The ChainCharlie LeDuff: Off The ChainMore>>

  • Sayonara Bingaling

    Sayonara Bingaling

    Friday, December 13 2013 7:35 PM EST2013-12-14 00:35:18 GMT
    LeDuff: From my perch, I can say Bing was a mayor who preferred to get his nails polished but never dirty.
    LeDuff: From my perch, I can say Bing was a mayor who preferred to get his nails polished but never dirty.
  • LeDuff goes inside massive Detroit Police raid

    LeDuff goes inside massive Detroit Police raid

    Tuesday, December 3 2013 7:57 PM EST2013-12-04 00:57:27 GMT
    On Tuesday, police in Detroit teamed up with Michigan State Police and federal law enforcement officers to conduct a massive raid the size of a city block.
    On Tuesday, police in Detroit teamed up with Michigan State Police and federal law enforcement officers to conduct a massive raid the size of a city block.
  • Is this the crest of dawn in this thing we call a city?

    Is this the crest of dawn in this thing we call a city?

    Friday, November 8 2013 6:12 PM EST2013-11-08 23:12:53 GMT
    LeDuff: Darkness Rules. And then on a corner of a street called Crusade, a case of what should be considered normal becomes the extraordinary:a streetlight gets repaired. And the curtains get pulled back from the iron door.
    LeDuff: Darkness Rules. And then on a corner of a street called Crusade, a case of what should be considered normal becomes the extraordinary: a streetlight gets repaired. And the curtains get pulled back from the iron door.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Benefit for injured Grosse Pointe Park Police officer

    Benefit for injured Grosse Pointe Park Police officer

    Friday, July 25 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-07-25 16:18:15 GMT
    48-year-old Keith Andersen retired in February from the Grosse Pointe Park Police Department. On June 21, he was involved in a roll over accident where he suffered a broken neck. As of now Keith has no movement in his the lower half of his body. The Fraternal Order of Police, Grosse Pointe Lodge 102 is holding a fundraiser for Keith on Aug 5th. Amy Lange will have a full report on Fox 2 News at 5:00 p.m.
    48-year-old Keith Andersen retired in February from the Grosse Pointe Park Police Department. On June 21, he was involved in a roll over accident where he suffered a broken neck. As of now Keith has no movement in his the lower half of his body. The Fraternal Order of Police, Grosse Pointe Lodge 102 is holding a fundraiser for Keith on Aug 5th. Amy Lange will have a full report on Fox 2 News at 5:00 p.m.
  • Teenager's body discovered in wooded area in Armada

    Teenager's body discovered in wooded area in Armada

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:37 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:37:19 GMT
    Police in Armad Township tell Fox 2's Roop Raj that the body of a 14-year-old female teen has been found in a wooded area near a recreational trail in the Macomb County village of Armada.
    Police in Armad Township tell Fox 2's Roop Raj that the body of a 14-year-old female teen has been found in a wooded area near a recreational trail in the Macomb County village of Armada.
  • Judge rules Warren Evans can stay on the ballot

    Judge rules Warren Evans can stay on the ballot

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:16 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:16:52 GMT
    A judge ruled Friday, Warren Evans will stay on the August primary ballot for Wayne County Executive.
    A judge ruled Friday, Warren Evans will stay on the August primary ballot for Wayne County Executive.
Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices