Commissioners Dodge Question On Contributions From Towing Contractors


September 28th, 2017

Detroit, MI – During the citizen comment section of the Detroit Board of Police Commissioner (BOPC) meeting, 4th District Police Commissioner candidate Scotty Boman asked a question that Commission Chair Lisa Carter didn’t want answered. Boman asked, “My question to each of you is would you be comfortable accepting $500 campaign contributions from a towing contractor given the Board of Police Commissioner’s role in decisions regarding towing contracts?” Carter interrupted Boman before he had completed his question saying, “Mr. Boman. This is not the forum for that, if you have anything that you want to talk to us about the police department, or any complaints, we will take that.”

Boman then queried, “So the forum for asking a question about the role of the Board of Police Commissioners is not a meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners?” Carter then said, “I’m talking about his campaign is not.” Carter squelched discussion on the matter thanking Boman.

Prior to asking the question Boman had supplied Commissioners with print outs of a “Late Contribution Report” in which a $500 contribution to 4th District Commissioner Willie Bell’s campaign committee, from a Towing contractor was itemized.

“I think it is telling that the Chair of this board was not only resistant to answering a simple yes-or-no question concerning ethical practices, but was hell-bent on silencing discussion so that none of the other members would have a chance to respond. Perhaps the $500 contribution to Bell was only the tip of the iceberg.” Boman invited other commissioners to respond saying, “I said it then, and I say it now, “I asked a question. Anyone who wants to answer it should.”

In August, twenty one towing companies lost contracts as a result of a dispute between Corporation Council Butch Hallowell and the BOPC. Hallowell nullified the contracts and reassigned the task to the Procurement Department.

Commissioner Bell was vocal in defending the BOPC’s roll in awarding contracts. Boman commented, “I agree that this falls within the responsibilities of the BOPC, but that also means commissioners should not be taking money from these people. It’s a blatant conflict of interest.”

In June Deputy Police Chief Celia Washington, who served as the legal adviser to the police department, resigned, one week after a towing contractor was indicted on bribery charges for allegedly paying cash bribes to win a towing contract in Clinton Township.

Boman’s comments are in the last 5 minutes of the first session of the September 28th meeting which is available here:

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