Media

City Fights Transparency In Duggan Probe; Puts $222,000 Price on Freep Record Request


September 29, 2019, 9:24 AM

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Sonia Hassan and Mike Duggan

People can debate the merits of the Detroit Office of Inspector General's investigation into whether Mayor Mike Duggan gave preferential treatment to a local maternal health program led by a woman Duggan was reportedly having a romantic relationship with.

On the upside for Duggan, the program seems to be working and is headed by an unquestionably qualified doctor.

What should be disturbing is the way the city is handling a Freedom of Information Act request from the Detroit Free Press for records in that probe including emails, text messages, financial reports. 

First off, the city is pegging the cost of getting more than 400,000 pages of documents at an estimated  $222,667, Joe Guillen, and Kat Stafford of the Freep write. Clearly, that's meant to dissuade any news organization from pursuing the request for transparency sake.

On top of that, the paper reports:

Even if the Free Press pays the six-figure invoice, the city plans to fight releasing documents that the inspector general’s office has collected. The investigation involves Duggan and Make Your Date, the maternal health program run by Sonia Hassan, a woman with close ties to the mayor. Duggan initiated the nonprofit program; recommended Hassan to lead it, and ordered high-ranking city officials to help with fundraising. Make Your Date received more than $358,000 in federal grant money through the city.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) wants to keep the records secret while the investigation is ongoing so they are not used to “mislead the public.”

The Freep notes that while the Inspector General is supposed to be the city’s independent watchdog, its staff collaborated with the city’s law department to object to releasing the records to the Free Press. 

Deputy Inspector General Kamau Marable said Friday that the office's objections are not specific to the investigation involving Duggan and Make Your Date.

"We are not opposing the (FOIA) request perpetually," Marable said. "Our concern is the information being released while an investigation is ongoing and that's every investigation — high-profile or not. Every investigation we feel that way and will take that stance." "We are not opposing the (FOIA) request perpetually," Marable said. "Our concern is the information being released while an investigation is ongoing and that's every investigation — high-profile or not. Every investigation we feel that way and will take that stance."puty Inspector General Kamau Marable said Friday that the office's objections are not specific to the investigation involving Duggan and Make Your Date.


Read more:  Detroit Free Press


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