Detroit council member pleads guilty to taking towing bribes

DETROIT (AP) — A member of the Detroit City Council pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy, admitting that he and an aide accepted nearly $36,000 in bribes related to oversight of towing.

Andre Spivey, 47, took the money from an undercover agent or an informant. He's expected to resign from office.

“The people of Detroit deserve a city government free of corruption and pay-to-play politics,” said Saima Mohsin, the acting U.S. attorney.

Spivey's guilty plea wasn't a complete surprise. The charge was filed in July, and defense attorney Elliott Hall had said Spivey was cooperating with investigators.

“Over the course of four years, I received payments in hopes to help an individual retain a city contract,” Spivey told U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts.

Hall emphasized that Spivey “had an intent but never issued a vote” because of the money.

Agents recently searched homes and offices connected to two other council members, Scott Benson and Janeé Ayers, and aides. They have not been charged.

Mayor Mike Duggan said it was a “hard day” for Detroit and Spivey’s family.

The city council is considering changes to how the city hires towing companies by turning to competitive bids. Duggan has called the current process, which involves the police department, “fraught with potential for abuse.”

Spivey will be the second council member forced out of office this year. Gabe Leland was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to accepting an illegal $7,500 cash campaign contribution.

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