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Detroit’s Human Services Department Slammed By Feds–Grants Went to Employees Instead of Poor

September 20, 2011

One more story of Detroit’s corruption, right?  Who can take another one?  Well, apparently the Feds can–they uncovered fraud after a Michigan’s paper, the Detroit Free Press uncovered misuse of tax dollars:

The federal government slammed Michigan’s Department of Human Services, accusing it of failing to properly investigate the possible misuse of tax dollars by Detroit’s Human Services Department that was uncovered by the Free Press.

The city department spent $210,000 from grants intended to help poor people on high-end furniture and appliances instead.

Tasked with investigating the misspending claims, the state Department of Human Services never reviewed employee conduct or fraud as expected, said Kenneth Wolfe, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“We do not believe that the state’s review is sufficient, nor do we believe its methods and focus are sufficient,” Wolfe told the Free Press on Thursday. “Its review did not examine the city’s employees and weaknesses in their internal controls to prevent, detect and identify fraud.”

Wolfe said a team of federal investigators plans to review Detroit’s handling of about $100 million in annual federal funding in October…

Bing suspended Human Services Director Shenetta Coleman and several employees pending the outcome of the investigation.

Bing’s administration announced another investigation Wednesday — this one at the Department of Health and Wellness Promotion, which handles more than $75 million a year, the bulk of which comes from federal and state dollars.

On Wednesday, following new evidence of potential problems within the health department, Bing fired department director Dr. Yvonne Anthony.

In the photo below, Dr. Yvonne Anthony,courtesy of the Detroit Free Press, the head of the Health and Wellness office was escorted from the premises:

Police escorted Dr. Yvonne Anthony from the Department of Health and Wellness Promotion offices on Taylor after she told staff that she was planning to resign. She was not arrested and has not been charged with a crime.

The timing of her planned departure raised eyebrows from the mayor’s office because police recently began asking questions about misspending at the department, which handles more than $50 million in state and federal tax money.

“The investigation will determine if there was mismanagement and wrongdoing in that department,” mayoral spokeswoman Karen Dumas said.

Bing also is investigating the Human Services Department over allegations of misspending that led to the suspension last week of the department’s director and several employees.Investigating corruption at two city agencies, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is questioning how leaders spent hundreds of millions of grant dollars with apparently little or no oversight.

The local paper in Detroit, The Detroit Free Press, did well on that investigation.  I have to say that seeing true investigative journalism like this is so very refreshing.  Now if we could just get them to focus on the Michigan Supreme Court…

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