Feds Want Ex-Detroit Councilman Andre Spivey to Serve 3-plus Years For Bribery

January 05, 2022, 11:52 AM by  Allan Lengel

Councilman Spivey

Accusing him of greed and betraying the citizens of Detroit, federal prosecutors are recommending ex-Detroit Councilman Andre Spivey be sentenced to three years and four months in prison for taking $35,900 in bribes. 

In a 12-page sentencing memorandum filed Wednesday in federal court, assistant U.S. Attorney David Gardey and Frances Carlson write:

Spivey’s criminal conduct was not a one-time slip or an isolated serious lapse of judgment. Rather, on more than eight separate occasions over the course of five years, Spivey asked for and accepted cash bribes from a Detroit business owner seeking favors and a purchased vote on the Detroit City Council.

In September, Spivey pleaded guilty to taking bribes in connection with council’s oversight of towing in Detroit. He then stepped down as a council member.

Sentencing is set for Jan. 19.

The government memorandum alleges that Spivey demanded money from various business owners. 

In one case, a businessman, involved towing, was approached in 2017 by the FBI for information. The businessman shared with agents text messages from Spivey from 2016 when he asked for money in exchange for raising the dollar amount on towing contracts with the city.

In 2018, the businessman began recording his meetings with Spivey for the FBI. The first recorded bribe payment involved Spivey demanding $2,000 for a trip to Las Vegas, the memo said. In exchange, Spivey agreed to help the businessman get a towing contract with the city.

Subsequently, Spivey was recorded taking seven more bribes, including one from an undercover FBI agent, the memo states.

As part of scheme, Spivey used a staff member to collect more than $20,000 in the bribe payments on his behalf. 

Additionally, the feds wrote that Spivey introduced the businessman to two other councilmembers.

"Spivey’s open willingness to further corrupt other elected officials of the City of Detroit demonstrates and emphasizes the seriousness of Spivey’s criminal conduct," the memo states.

The memo does not name the two councilmembers.

But in August, the FBI raided the offices and homes of Councilman Scott Benson and now ex-Councilwoman Janeé Ayers and their top aides. Benson ran unopposed in November while Ayers lost her bid for re-election. No one has been publicly accused of wrongdoing, and the FBI probe is ongoing.

In May, Councilman Gabe Leland stepped down after pleading guilty to a state charge of misconduct in office for accepting a cash campaign contribution. He was originally charged with bribery in federal court, but the case was eventually transferred to state court where he pleaded to a lesser charge that helped him avoid prison time.

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