Detroit sitting on $21M from insurance to demolish houses - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Detroit sitting on $21M from insurance companies to demolish blighted houses

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  • RECAP: Mayor Duggan delivers Detroit's State of the City address

    RECAP: Mayor Duggan delivers Detroit's State of the City address

    Thursday, February 27 2014 12:35 AM EST2014-02-27 05:35:40 GMT
    The first State of the City address for Detroit since the city declared and was allowed into bankruptcy was delivered by Mayor Mike Duggan Wednesday night in the Erma Henderson Auditorium in City Hall.
    The first State of the City address for Detroit since the city declared and was allowed into bankruptcy was delivered by Mayor Mike Duggan Wednesday night in the Erma Henderson Auditorium in City Hall.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Mayor Duggan talked about a $20 million initiative to help fight blight in the city during his State of the City address Wednesday night.  The money is coming from the city's fire insurance escrow fund.

Turns out, FOX 2 investigative reporter M.L. Elrick discovered that money has been available for years - so why hasn't it been tapped into until now?

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch M.L.'s report
____________

Remember this wreck of a house? When we first showed it to you last year hit been sitting on the edge of a tidy west side neighborhood looking like a cold sore on a beauty queen. Well, here's what it looks like today. Notice anything different?

The city of Detroit demolished the house after we reported hit been left to rot, even though an insurance company had given the city money to knock it down. That story put me onto a bigger story - one I've been working on for months.

My investigation found the city collected $21 million from insurance companies to knock down houses, but plenty of those houses are still standing.

For example, between 2008 - 2013 the city was paid more than $25,000 to knock down four homes on Evergreen Road. None of those homes have been knocked down.

VIDEO: Click the video in the video player above 'A visit to a neighborhood plagued by abandoned homes'

Now Mayor Mike Duggan is making this issue a centerpiece of his first State of the City address.

"When he did learn that there was money that could have been spent to demolish burned out houses, of course he jumped on it," says mayoral spokesperson Alexis Wiley.

The Duggan administration is giving credit where credit is due.

"M.L., your work has really brought this problem to the forefront. This money was just sitting and it needs to be used. You made it clear there's this money that could be used for demolition, could be used to really reinvest in our neighborhoods it and wasn't being used," says Wiley.

If the mayor carries through on his plan, east-sider Brandon Yates will be plenty happy. He's lived across the street from abandoned houses that the city was paid to knock down. He told me last month, that he always suspected it didn't have to be this way.

"Yeah, it's unfortunate. There's a lot of stuff in the city that's not being dealt with. I think the money is there, the resources are there, it's just putting the two together," says Yates.

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  • Federal sting ends in gunfire in Highland Park

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    Saturday, August 2 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-08-02 04:03:37 GMT
    In what started as a traffic stop, resulted in a shootout between federal agents and a pair of men known to have illegal assault rifles in Highland Park.Police say a task force of ATF and FBI agents who had previously set up a meet with two men, known to have AK-47s and AR-15s in their Chevrolet Cavalier, began to move in. The traffic stop was made near Oakland and Victor about 7:30 p.m. Friday. The car rammed the federal agents vehicle and the driver opened fire with a handgun. The agents re...
    In what started as a traffic stop, resulted in a shootout between federal agents and a pair of men known to have illegal assault rifles in Highland Park.Police say a task force of ATF and FBI agents who had previously set up a meet with two men, known to have AK-47s and AR-15s in their Chevrolet Cavalier, began to move in. The traffic stop was made near Oakland and Victor about 7:30 p.m. Friday. The car rammed the federal agents vehicle and the driver opened fire with a handgun. The agents re...
  • Officer hit by drunk driver on Detroit's east side

    Officer hit by drunk driver on Detroit's east side

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:15 PM EDT2014-08-02 03:15:06 GMT
    An officer was hit by a driver believed to be drunk Friday at 8 mile and Alcoy on Detroit's east side.Police say officers were investigating at the scene of a traffic accident when the driver ran through the barricade and hit the woman.She was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries and the drunk driver was arrested. Police had been conducting an investigation of the original accident in which one of the drivers died. Eight mile is closed in east bound lane by Alcoy.
    An officer was hit by a driver believed to be drunk Friday at 8 mile and Alcoy on Detroit's east side.Police say officers were investigating at the scene of a traffic accident when the driver ran through the barricade and hit the woman.She was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries and the drunk driver was arrested. Police had been conducting an investigation of the original accident in which one of the drivers died. Eight mile is closed in east bound lane by Alcoy.
  • Man arrested after trying to wrestle gun from officer in Detroit

    Man arrested after trying to wrestle gun from officer in Detroit

    Friday, August 1 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-08-02 01:32:44 GMT
    A man was arrested after he went for an officer's gun trying to wrestle it away from Detroit Police, causing the weapon to fire.SkyFOX was over the scene on Manning Street in Detroit, where the incident occurred Friday,The bullet didn't hit anyone and police took a 27-year-old man from Roseville into custody.Police say the home was a known drug den, and when officers drove by the property -- four people ran from the home.The officer and suspect were treated at a hospital for non life threaten...
    A man was arrested after he went for an officer's gun trying to wrestle it away from Detroit Police, causing the weapon to fire.SkyFOX was over the scene on Manning Street in Detroit, where the incident occurred Friday,The bullet didn't hit anyone and police took a 27-year-old man from Roseville into custody.Police say the home was a known drug den, and when officers drove by the property -- four people ran from the home.The officer and suspect were treated at a hospital for non life threaten...
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